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METHODIST FOUNDERS' SERIES 

EDITED BY 
BISHOP WARREN A. CANDLER 



LIFE OF JOSHUA SOULE 



By HORACE M. DU BOSE, D.D. 

Author of Francis Asbury: A Biographical Study 



Nashville, Tenn,; Dallas, Tex. 

Publishing House of the M. E. Church, South 

Smith & Lamar, Agents 

1911 



Copyright, 191 i, 

by 
Smith & Lamar. 



CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER I. Page 

The Sea King Race 9 

CHAPTER II. 
"Come and See" 24 

CHAPTER III. 
Among the Prophets 38 

CHAPTER IV. 
The Methodist Proconsul 57 

CHAPTER V. 
Writing the Constitution 71 

CHAPTER VI. 
An Intercalary Period 89 



CHAPTER VII. 
Counseling the Rulers 102 

CHAPTER VIII. 
A Manifold Stewardship 114 

CHAPTER IX. 
An Effective Protest 129 

CHAPTER X. 
Doubly Called 152 

(3) 



4 Life of Joshua Soule. 

CHAPTER XI. p age . 

Four Times Four 17° 

CHAPTER XII. 
The New World's Messenger to the Old 192 

CHAPTER XIII. 
Where Two Seas Met 208 

CHAPTER XIV. 
Cavalier and Puritan 233 

CHAPTER XV. 
The Master in Israel 258 

CHAPTER XVI. 
The Evening Bell 273 



THE AUTHOR'S PREFACE. 

The illustrious man whose life story is written 
through the pages of this volume expired on March 6, 
1867, now somewhat more than three and forty years 
ago. There has been no time since his death that his 
biography was not a desideratum. As a testimony to 
the truth and power of Christianity, the orderly record 
of such a life could not but have a large use. The sec- 
ular community is entitled to be put in possession of 
the facts attending the manifestation of so marked a 
personality. The inspirational value of his example to 
young men of serious moods and living ideals is too 
considerable to be determined by the ordinary means of 
reckoning. To the great religious body with which he 
was identified — a cardinal and ever-expanding force in 
the life of the republic — the record of his words and 
choosings is of surpassing significance. In his proper 
and historic person he represents a large element of 
the past of the Methodist Church in the South and is a 
deathless pledge of the purposefulness and sincerity of 
its future. Nor is this view of the serviceableness of 
the book of his deeds a recent discovery; it is a view 
that has been held since the day on which he was 
caught away from the sight of his people. 

Why, then, has his story remained so long unwritten? 
Nobody is better qualified than this writer to say that 
the august subject itself is one calculated to deter the 
most confident, nor would this pen have attempted on 
its own initiative a theme so high ; only in obedience 
to an official command has it been clipped in these 

(5) 



6 Life of Joshua Soule. 

ethereal fires. As the reader pursues the narrative 
through its course of nearly a century, other reasons 
why this service was not undertaken by an earlier bi- 
ographer will appear. It is not necessary that these 
reasons be mentioned here. But perhaps the chief de- 
terrent for these nearly fifty years past has been the 
ever-remembered interdict which the great rabbi him- 
self published to posterity. Stronger than the senti- 
ment of a whole nation, stronger than its wish and 
judgment as to what is fit, have been the words which 
guard in their provincial rest the bones of the great 
Shakespeare. In his climacteric utterance before the 
General Conference of 1844 — an utterance whose force 
was to stamp meaning and potency upon an epoch now 
but fairly begun — Bishop Soule said : "I want no man 
to write my epitaph. I will write it myself. I want 
no man to write and publish my life. I will do that 
myself so far as I think it may be necessary for the in- 
terests of posterity or for the benefit of the Church of 
God." Bold indeed had been the contemporary or near 
contemporary who could so far construe that injunc- 
tion into the fine frenzy of a moment of haste as to en- 
ter unauthorized upon an ordering of the deeds and 
days of that self -administered life. But there came a 
time when, under the urgency of the General Confer- 
ence, Bishop Soule so far modified the terms of his in- 
terdict as to consent to have his story told as a side 
light to that of his long-departed coadjutor, Bishop 
McKendree. When, however, the biographer elect fal- 
tered before the uninitiated task, he, for his part and 
with unconcealed satisfaction, canceled the obligation, 
leaving the injunction undissolved. 



The Author's Preface. y 

But the time has come, lest much fair fruit of truth 
and faith, much grace and loyalty and courage, much 
glory of Christly manhood perish in oblivion — the time 
has come that the details of this life, so far as they can 
be recovered, should be set in orderly array. This I 
have sought with industry, patience, and, I trust, a be- 
coming reverence to do ; and I have been at almost ev- 
ery stage of my investigation pleased to find that the 
materials to be commanded were more abundant than 
I had been led to expect. Some of the facts and doc- 
uments which I have been able to retrieve from immi- 
nent oblivion and introduce into this narrative as parts 
of its vital substance are of the greatest value to the 
Church, and I confidently believe will be of lasting in- 
terest to the students of Methodist history. The 
Church whose servant I have humbly conceived myself 
to be in an especial sense in this work must find in the 
history of its greatest Bishop, though but too imper- 
fectly written here, a character the completeness of 
whose self-confirmatory testimony has been but half 
suspected, as also an incentive that can but largely af- 
fect its future plans and spirit. 

Again protesting a sense of insufficiency that has 
burdened me through all the months in which I have 
been employed in this work, I submit it to the judgment 
of my brethren and to the household of the people 
called Methodists and, indeed, to those of every house- 
hold who seek for that which is kingly in human flesh. 

H. M. Du Bose. 

April is, 1910. 



LIFE OF JOSHUA SOULE. 



CHAPTER I. 
The Sea King Race. 

Heraldries in general are assets of doubtful ap- 
praisement, but are not without consideration, even in 
republics. The disposition to improvise an ancestry, 
or else to improve the one in hand until it reaches a de- 
sired rank, is so nearly universal that one is justified in 
counting it a human trait. America, no less than the 
Old World, has its points of starting out in this matter. 
Legion is the name of the genealogical romances that 
refer to the stocks of the Pilgrims and the Cavaliers, 
and not without temptation and reason. Rugged, hu- 
manlike, and yet unworldly on the one part and high- 
born, humanlike, and honor-loving on the other were 
those Plymouth and Virginia forbears who verily did 
begin to people the wilderness and the lines of whose 
descendants run to-day through the augmenting Amer- 
ican multitudes like veins of silver through the rocks. 

Amongst the names of "the forty-one male passen- 
gers and heads of families" that came over in the May- 
flower appears that of George Soule, as may be seen 
by any one who consults the list of those worthies pre- 
served at Plymouth. From this George Soule descend- 
ed a numerous progeny represented not only in many 
parts of New England, but in almost every section of 
the republic. The individuals of this descent are said 

(9) 



xo Life of Joshua Soule. 

to be marked everywhere by a striking family likeness, 
the persistence of some far-off ethnic type. Bishop 
Joshua Soule was a lineal descendant of the Pilgrim 
father. The village in the low-lying shore lands of 
Maine where the great Methodist leader was born was 
scarcely two days' sail from the sandy beach where the 
feet of his Pilgrim ancestor first touched the soil of 
America. 

The early New England race of Soules were sea 
kings — skippers of whaling and fishing vessels or, 
masters of merchant ships that braved the mid-At- 
lantic. The second generation settled about the shores 
of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island, in the 
open face of the surf. They took to the sea as by in- 
stinct. The spray was in their hair, and the salt was 
in their blood. The deep was their affinity. Their very 
virtues were oceanlike — resistless, unconfined. Cour- 
age and candor were in their hearts. On the sea they 
welcomed the storm, and on the land they turned not 
back from any purpose or enterprise. 

The persistence of the seafaring life in the choice of 
their generations was not fortuity, nor is the reference 
of their physical and temperamental qualities to the 
blood and heredity of the sea kings either fanciful or 
accommodated. The Soules of both the South of Scot- 
land and North of England, dwellers about the Tweed, 
as well as those of France, were Normans of the Nor- 
mans. Their ancestral blood ran red in the veins of 
those viking lords through whose prowess Rollo, the 
Norwegian, in the tenth century established himself on 
the northern shores of France. From Rollo and his 
vikings were descended those mighty dukes and their 



The Sea King Race. u 

feudal lords who conquered England and gave to it 
new blood and the capacity for a new faith. It was 
from the midriff of one of Rollo's Vikings that the 
race of the Soules was sprung. The love of the sea 
and its mysteries and the longing for lands unknown 
which enticed to adventure the pagan sires enticed their 
Christian sons to seek in many lands the goal of liberty 
and freedom of thought. 

The very name of Soule is an echo of the sagas, new 
and old. Its root is the true Norse word sj'6, or so, the 
equivalent of the English sea, "the moving, restless 
one," to which root has also been conjecturally referred 
the English word soul. Here is a lineage that loses 
itself amongst the sons of Woden, a race tree as an- 
cient and mysterious as Ygdrasil itself. 

As to the true spelling and pronunciation of the 
name, there was confusion even in England just before 
the Cromwellian period. The spelling on the Plymouth 
list is Sowle. In France the name is a word of two 
syllables and accented on the final letter. At an early 
time in Normandy the name was spelled Soulis, which 
was no doubt the original form ; but to-day it is met in 
the capital and other cities about the Seine as Soule. 
A brother of the Bishop, who removed from New En- 
gland to the West in advance of his more distinguished 
kinsman, replaced the Gallic accent, and his descend- 
ants continue to be known by the name of Soule. The 
Bishop in his later years was known to be sensitive con- 
cerning this reversion to precedent, and stoutly insist- 
ed that, so far as regarded his own name, the Plymouth 
rule of pronunciation should apply. 

In Stubbs's "Chronicle of the Reigns of Edward 



12 



Life of Joshua Sonic. 



First and Edward Second" is given a particular ac- 
count of Sir John Soulis, "who belonged to one of 
those Anglo-Norman families who settled in Scotland 
in the reign of Malcolm III." This thirteenth century 
link in the chain of the modern Bishop's family was 
cast in a rude but heroic mold. He was the compeer 
and accomplice of the Baliols, the Bruces, the Lords of 
Hastings and their great clan barons, who in the 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries played between the 
kings of England and France the games of diplomacy 
and war, with the crown and kingdom of Scotland as 
a stake. By turns Sir John was a diplomat and a sol- 
dier of fortune; and not a few were the freebooting 
enterprises which he undertook along the border and 
on the seas, thus showing himself to be a veritable 
■viking of the later age. Though a natural ally of the 
Scottish king, John Baliol, he was sometimes in the 
employ of the English sovereign Edward L, and yet 
at other times on missions for the king of France ; 
but he habitually sought those enterprises which had in 
them the elements of adventure and daring. Appoint- 
ed by King John to be coguardian with John Comyn, . 
of Scotland, while the king was in exile of war, he as- 
sumed all but regal power and began to treat with the 
court of Rome against the English. To further his de- 
signs he took the sea on an embassy to France, and 
soon the ships of England were scouring the Channel 
in search of him and his companions. He was thus 
for a time the disturber, if not the dictator, of Europe. 
Though baffled in the effort to realize his vast schemes, 
the latent Norse instinct of his nature led him to con- 
tinue the feudatory strife along the Scottish border. 



The Sea King Race. 13 

Later his. name became terrible as a foeman amongst 
the inhabitants of the English shires. Finally he joined 
himself to Edward Bruce, a younger brother of King 
Robert Bruce, who early in the fourteenth century led 
a sea expedition to Ireland and had himself proclaimed 
king in the north of that island. In a great battle at 
Dundalk, which recalled "the last great battle" of Ar- 
thur with the Picts in Cornwall, the prince and his Nor- 
man ally perished side by side. 

Such was the militant human stuff, as here glimpsed, 
which under Puritan tutelage helped to make effective 
the challenge of civilization to the American wilder- 
ness and which also contributed to swell the ranks of 
the Ironsides of Cromwell in the contest with tyranny. 

In George Soule, the Mayflower Pilgrim, Celtic 
sturdiness mingled with the passion and restlessness of 
the men of the fiords. Behind him lay a long family 
and racial history of which he recked nothing, but 
from whose vital drifts were fed the enthusiasm and 
purpose which made both him and his later son im- 
mortal in the New World. The extraordinary person- 
ality of Joshua Soule, especially as expressed in his 
temperamental habits and intellectual processes, is un- 
derstandable only in the light of his racial descent. 
Greatness does not always succeed greatness from sire 
to son, but greatness of mind and spirit, as also that 
ethereal fiber so nearly mind and spirit, invariably 
spring from ancestral greatness, near or remote. Like 
only can beget like. 

As we have seen, the early descendants of George 
Soule drifted southward from the first Pilgrim settle- 
ment at Plymouth to the region of Cape Cod, Martha's 



14 Life of Joshua Soule. 

Vineyard, and Nantucket, which were the seats of the 
early New England fisheries. It was from this section 
of Massachusetts that the first white population of 
Maine was chiefly drawn, and thus is explained the 
presence of the Soules amongst the hardy and adven- 
turous pioneer settlers of the Pine Tree State. Maine 
was from the beginning the most romantic, as it was 
the most backward in development, of all the divi- 
sions of the English colonial coastwise territory in 
North America. The early explorers visited its shores. 
Corte Real, in 1501, more than a century before the 
settlements made at Jamestown and Plymouth, made a 
map of its coast and islands. Sir John Hawkins and 
other scarcely less renowned sea rovers cruised in the 
waters of its bay. The English and the French vied 
with each other during the early part of the seventeenth 
century in efforts to secure control of the region 
through colonization. Sir Humphrey Gilbert lost his 
life in an enterprise meant to acquire it for the English 
crown in the days of Elizabeth. Mount Desert Island, 
with its towering coasts and its nests of inland peaks, 
enticed the French Jesuits, who planted a community 
there in 161 3, but who were shortly afterwards eject- 
ed by the English. Thus the land remained in Prot- 
estant hands. 

In 1677 the colonial government of Massachusetts 
bought up the various royal titles to lands in the Maine 
country and made it a tributary of the colony under the 
name of the "Province of Maine." From that time, or 
as early as the beginning of the eighteenth century, 
Massachusetts began to give from her own too sparse 
populations handfuls of settlers for the indented coasts 



The Sea King Race. 15 

and narrow valleys of the new territory. As before 
seen, these immigrants were chiefly from the southeast 
of the old colony, and were the very flower of the 
Puritan stock. 

Captain Joshua Soule, the father of Bishop Soule, 
was bred to the life of a seaman, being first a common 
sailor, then the master of a whaler, and later the chief 
officer of a merchant ship. His vessel seems to have 
been, like most of the craft of the times, a rover, sail- 
ing to and fro and from such points -as offered the 
readiest cargoes. His range was from the coasts of 
his own country to the Carolinas and the Bahamas, 
with possibly a rare visit to the eastern shores of the 
Atlantic. Nevertheless, he had his homing times, and 
often enjoyed long intervals on land. He had married 
and early established a home at Bristol, on the coast of 
Maine, where his fifth son, the future bishop, was born 
on August 1, 1781, just as the tide of victory was turn- 
ing toward the American patriots in their struggle for 
independence. 

In addition to the Bristol home, Captain Soule had, 
while yet engaged in seafaring pursuits, acquired a 
farm, or tract of virgin land, at Avon, a small settle- 
ment on the Sandy River, within the eastern reaches of 
the Province of Maine. It does not appear that this 
land was originally secured with a view to making it 
a homestead, but one of those providences by which 
the plans and oversight of Heaven are manifested 
caused the sea captain to turn to it as at once an asy- 
lum and a means of subsistence. 

But for the Revolutionary War he would in all like- 
lihood have continued to be a sea dog to the end of his 



1 6 Life of Joshua Soule. 

days. The letters of marque granted by Great Brit- 
ain during the war with her colonies had the effect of 
driving the infant commerce of America from the seas. 
As early as 1775 the British fleet attacked and de- 
stroyed Portland and Falmouth, the principal ports of 
Maine, and thus practically blockaded the entire coast. 
During this naval foray the ship of Captain Soule was 
either captured or destroyed or else rendered worth- 
less, and thus his seafaring days ended. He very soon 
thereafter formed the purpose of removing himself and 
his family to the virgin estate which he had acquired 
in the Sandy Valley, and there become a tiller of the 
soil. 

The radical character of that turn of fortune was 
truly suggestive of an active and instant providence, 
could the matter-of-fact old seaman have read it out. 
Perhaps he did not desire to read it out: his faith was 
centered in the Calvinism of Calvin, the fatalism of 
unsearchable decrees. He had eaten of that bread too 
long to inquire curiously of Providence. By his faith 
he walked ; and it was well that he could so walk, for 
there was in that hard day no chance that another 
might break on his path. 

But whatever their interpretation of the fortune 
compelling their journey northward toward a new and 
unfamiliar home, the movers found the way a pleasant 
one. It led along by the broad-waved lower Kenne- 
bec into the birch-darkened highlands, and by the 
shores of glassy and picturesque lakes until they 
reached their land of promise far away from the sea 
and the low-lying shores they had known. It may be 
that this call of the sea captain to the virgin wild lost 



The Sea King Race. ly 

to the sea, in the person of his youngest son, a hearty 
mariner and possibly a future admiral ; but it gave to 
the Church an illustrious leader and bishop. 

Joshua and Mary Soule, the parents of Bishop Soule, 
were both religious, having been brought up in the 
strict Presbyterian doctrine. In the spirit and letter 
of their devotion they reproduced the religious life of 
their Scottish border ancestry. The Rev. Mr. McLain, 
the pastor under whose care they were for a long while, 
was a man who, it seems from the little we know of 
him, was calculated to confirm them in the fundamen- 
tals of the faith of the Covenanters. Their Calvinism 
may even have been accentuated by the primitive and 
isolated conditions of their life in the new lands of 
Maine, where their sons — and particularly the young- 
est — grew from childhood to youth. A strict family 
discipline was maintained. Sabbath-keeping, family 
prayers, and catechism-learning were the more promi- 
nent outward tests of the faith in which the sea 
captain and his wife sought to rear their sons. These 
were not different from the tests demanded by the 
more prevalent school of Calvinism, represented in 
the Congregational Churches about them. The con- 
formity and ethical order expressed by this rote chal- 
lenged the respect of the world, if it did not compel 
to love and obedience. 

Young Joshua was the child of his parents, quiet, 
determined, and religious by instinct and in the abso- 
lute commitment of his thoughts. They taught him to 
fear the Lord, and he responded to their teaching. 
They emphasized the literal call which faith made upon 
that fear, and he accepted the emphasis. The credal 
2 



18 Life of Joshua Soule. 

picture of the divine sovereignty all but shut out from 
his childish eyes the face of the Father. But the fear 
which bulked through his religious thoughts was a re- 
straining fear — doubly so : it not only restrained from 
active disobedience, but it restrained the emotions and 
those subliminal feelings whose healthy play is so nec- 
essary to the experiences of true godliness. If it did 
not "cast out" perfect love, it at least made it impos- 
sible. It saved from the letter of sin, but it did not de- 
liver into the grace of rejoicing. 

The Soule home in the Avon settlement, which was 
in an unfurnished condition when the family removed 
to it in the autumn of 1781, was a plain structure, pro- 
vided with only the simplest comforts ; but the person- 
alities of Captain Soule and his wife gave it an excep- 
tional importance in the whole region. It was a home 
for the ministers of the Presbyterian faith, who kept 
a more or less constant oversight of the valley settle- 
ments. Occasionally they preached in the Soule home, 
but it does not appear that they ever organized a con- 
gregation in those parts. Not only the rustic son of 
the ex-sea captain, but the whole land about awaited the 
coming of one who should cry in the wilderness an ef- 
fectual call. 

More primitive conditions than those which sur- 
rounded the settlers at Avon could not well be imag- 
ined. Only ten years before the arrival of the Soules 
the first plowshare had been let into the soil. The 
place was remote;, and recruits had come in slowly. 
Markets were distant, and in such as could be reached 
the demand for the products of the farm was small; 
but the soil was fertile and yielded readily cereals, 



The Sea King Race. 19 

fruits, and vegetables. The roaring rivulets turned the 
mill wheel, and the housewives spun flax and wool, 
and so the necessary demands upon the outer world 
were reduced to the minimum. 

One of the very few reminiscences of his early life 
left by the Bishop gives us a picture of the Sandy River 
farm and the furrowed field over which he went and 
came season after season. Like Virgil, he retained 
throughout his years a love for the farm. The smell 
of lands newly plowed and the breath of freshly mown 
meadows were grateful to his nostrils. While in ven- 
erable age and enjoying the reverence and all but the 
homage of the people of the South he was accustomed 
to give much personal care to the cultivation of the gar- 
den which constituted a goodly part of his modest 
Tennessee estate. 

The record is that young Soule, like Asbury, "never 
uttered an oath" and was otherwise singularly correct 
in word and life. This led his more worldly compan- 
ions to dub him "the deacon/' a title which in that day 
in New England had an aptness not now so apparent. 
Beyond a doubt there is ground for belief in what has 
been termed "the genius for godliness." Grace has 
constantly found lives of exceptional responsiveness. 
Prenatal impulses, occult mental forces, and, above 
all, the selection of divine destiny explain these mira- 
cles in the barren commonplaces of humanity. The 
lad of Avon belonged to the virgin chivalry of the 
Apocalypse. But not only were the religious rules and 
discipline of the Soule family restraining and to a de- 
gree spiritualizing; both the parents were people of 
education, and probably possessed a literary taste much 



20 Life of Joshua Soulc. 

superior to the average of those about them. The fa- 
ther, if he had not seen the world widely and deeply, 
had seen it from many view-points, and that through 
the eyes of both youth and manhood. He had had ex- 
perience enough and his education was equal to the de- 
mand of some purely intellectual undertaking, had 
there been one inviting him. The mother had been 
brought up in a center of politeness and good manners. 
Measured by the times, she must have been a woman 
of good education. Nor did these parents, in their 
lack of fortune and the absence of schools, leave their 
children to absorb knowledge by uncertain processes. 
Early teaching in the home was resorted to. It is the 
Bishop's own testimony that he could not remember 
when he learned to read. Books such as the means of 
the family and the times afforded were provided. Of 
course the Bible was the Book which the boy most con- 
stantly read and which was constantly read aloud in 
the family ; yet others, if still of titles and trend severe, 
were supplied. Beyond a peradventure, stories of the 
sea and tales of daring and adventure were not wholly 
wanting. The father was a good story-teller, and 
through his knowledge of many places and many seas 
he made his sons familiar beyond their natural chance 
with the world at large. 

Quickly upon the catechism, the primers, and the 
storybooks must have followed, in the case of the 
young Joshua, more advanced studies and those repre- 
senting his own literary electicism. The course of 
reading pursued by him in youth and adolescence was, 
as evidenced by his after culture, of most solid and 
thought-provoking character. The man who at the 



77j<? Sea King Race. 21 

age of twenty-seven wrote the Constitution of Metho- 
dism and might have written the Constitution of the 
commonwealth or held any one of its portfolios of 
State was no sciolist or pretender in thought and logic. 
Ten years after writing the Constitution he was set the 
even more difficult task of beginning the creation of a 
periodical Methodist literature. This work he accom- 
plished, laying the foundations of Methodist journal- 
ism — the beginning of its magazine and newspaper 
publications — in a way creditable to himself and the 
fraternity which he served. To this may be added the 
testimony of Bishop McTyeire, who informs us "that 
from 1828 to 1844 the writing of every quadrennial 
Episcopal Address was devolved on him." Dr. Thom- 
as O. Summers, a man to whom Methodist thought and 
literature are indebted, and who knew intimately the 
later years of Bishop Soule, bears unstinted testimony 
to the greatness and correctness of his thought and to 
his power and grace of expression. Measured by ev- 
ery standard, the intellectual greatness of this man was 
beyond question. And yet — the marvel grows ! — he 
was never a day in college; nor did he receive at any 
time, except from his parents, other literary training 
than that given during brief months in a back-coun- 
try school in Maine while yet an unorganized prov- 
ince of Massachusetts. In tracing the story of the 
intellectual development and mastery of this man we 
are to see again a demonstration of the propulsive pow- 
er derived by the intellect from the experiences that 
follow the new birth and of the way in which the 
Methodist itinerancy forces its members into habits of 
inquiry and literary acquisition. The making of this 



22 Life of Joshua Soule. 

illustrious man was in the fellowship which he early 
enjoyed with Methodist circuit riders, and later in the 
place which he himself found in the itinerant pastor- 
ate, with its wide commissions, embracing every type 
of life and manners, and in the presidency of districts, 
one of them covering the entire Province of Maine and 
yet another embracing the oldest and proudest sections 
of the New England of the Pilgrims. These became to 
him a university from which he graduated into the 
largest activities and highest honors of his Church. 
Providence called him and fitted him to serve in the 
most important offices which have fallen to the leaders 
of the Methodism of the Western world. 

This was the man who in his youth plowed the fal- 
lows in one of the most remote and isolated valleys of 
Maine. This narrow world of his youth was shut in on 
the westward by slaty hills, darkened by birch and 
pine wolds, from out whose fissures poured the foam- 
ing tarns and from whose shelving sides dropped the 
cataracts. The plow lad heard the voices of the pines 
and the birches mingling with the call of the cataract. 
He heard and would fain have answered, as his sires 
before had heard and answered the call of the sea. 
He plowed and yearned, and knew not wherefore nor 
for what boon of good or action. Beyond the hills, 
westward and southward, lay the world — the young 
new republic, still rich in the possession of warrior he- 
roes, diplomats, and the makers of her Constitution, 
and, most inspiring thought of all, counseled and ruled 
by "the father of his country." New England, Vir- 
ginia, and the lands of the far and fragrant South — 
should he ever see them ? Should he one day have part 



The Sea King Race. 23 

and parcel with those who were even now making these 
lands great amongst the nations of the earth? The 
thought was one of enchantment, but he dared to think 
it. It was the daydream of a youth, and it soon faded 
into mist or was lost in the peaceful slumber that came 
after the day of toil. But the voice of one crying in 
the wilderness was ere long to be heard above the 
voices of birch wolds and cataracts, calling him to 
destiny larger and diviner than his boldest dreams had 
ever dared. 



CHAPTER II. 
"Come and See." 

As early as 1771 the Methodists in North America 
had cast wistful eyes toward New England, "the land 
of the Presbyterians," as it was later styled by Francis 
Asbury. But though the hope of conquest was always 
present, nothing definite looking toward that end was 
either undertaken or planned until a score of years 
later. To reach Canada the itinerants went around the 
estate of the Puritans, and to bring their forces into 
Nova Scotia they crossed it as aliens. Except in a few 
places along the southwestern border of Connecticut, 
no favorable opportunity to labor invited them until 
near the beginning of the last decade of the eighteenth 
century. 

Perhaps those otherwise dauntless spirits were over- 
impressed with the reputation of the New England peo- 
ple for general culture and imperious religious preju- 
dices. Charles Wesley had preached in Boston sixty 
years before, but as a priest of the Church of England 
and two years before the Aldersgate experience of his 
illustrious brother. George Whitefield had more than 
once made a triumphal tour of the land, and had left 
long, burning trails of revival fire behind him. He had 
been received as a prophet by Jonathan Edwards, the 
apostle of the indigenous faith, and had enjoyed be- 
sides the friendship and admiration of many civic lead- 
ers. Moreover, the soil had become sanctified in giving 
sepulture to his sleeping dust. And Whitefield was a 
(24) 



"Come and See." 25 

Methodist, but he believed and preached the Calvinism 
of Calvin himself. On the other hand, the Methodists 
who followed Strawbridge and Embury preached the 
gospel of Arminianism, the gospel of. grace both free 
and abounding ; and that was a gospel strange and un- 
believable to New England ears and reasoning. 

At the first informal Conference, held in 1773, after 
the arrival of Francis Asbury in America, that zealous 
disciple of Wesley made effective his demand for a 
more general circulation of the preachers ; and Richard 
Boardman, the general assistant of Mr. Wesley, after 
throwing his lines well to the southward, reserved New 
England to himself as a field for evangelization. But 
Boardman was not the man for such an enterprise. It 
is pretty well established that he made a tour of in- 
spection as far northward as Boston. Tradition also 
says that he preached there, but nothing permanent re- 
sulted from either the visit or the sermon. Freeborn 
Garretson is also believed to have preached once or 
twice in that metropolis during one of his journeys to 
or from his mission in Nova Scotia, as did also Wil- 
liam Black the Wesleyan, while on his way to attend 
the American Conference. These were received by 
"the Presbyterians" as courtesy calls. It was a carte 
de visite evangelism which left no results. The nature 
of the theological defenses was such as called for a 
prolonged siege. The element of time was vital to the 
issue. 

The man selected and reserved of providence for the 
work of planting Methodism in New England was 
Jesse Lee, a Virginian, and one of the greatest names 
in the early history of the American Church. While 



26 Life of Joshua Souk. 

traveling as the companion of Bishop Asbury, in 1784, 
he was treated by a merchant's clerk in Cheraw, South 
Carolina, to an account of the people of New England 
and of the religious conditions prevailing amongst 
them. From this account the zealous evangelist drew 
the conclusion that the people must be largely strangers 
to the vital truths of godliness. He therefore resolved 
that at the earliest opportunity he would become the 
bearer of a message to the land, and this purpose he 
cherished with unabated enthusiasm until an effectual 
door was opened. 

On May 28, 1789, Bishop Asbury makes this entry 
in his Journal: "Our Conference began in New York. 
. . . New England stretcheth out the hand to our 
ministry, and I trust those lands will shortly feel the 
influence." At this Conference Jesse Lee was appoint- 
ed to work in New England. In the entire territory 
there was not a Methodist chapel nor an appointed 
preaching place, nor had a single member ever been 
ci edited to Methodism within the entire border. It 
was one of the most unique mission fields that apostle 
ever entered. 

On June 17, 1789, Jesse Lee preached at Norwalk 
what is said by some to have been the first Methodist 
sermon ever preached in Connecticut. No house could 
be secured for his use, so he published his message 
from the street corner. In this manner he pursued his 
journey, seeking places of vantage in a land settled and 
fortified in the doctrines of a fatalistic theology. By 
June 21 he had reached New Haven, and in September 
the first Methodist society ever formed in New En- 
gland met at Stratford. Here also was built the first 



"Come and See." 27 

Methodist house of worship in "the land of the Pres- 
byterians." It afterwards became a famous and impor- 
tant center, and was long known as Lee's Chapel, so 
called in honor of its founder. In February of the 
next year three recruits were sent over the border to 
assist in the opening up of the work. At the Confer- 
ence held in New York in October, 1790, Jesse Lee 
as presiding elder, John Bloodgood, John Lee, Nathan- 
iel P. Mills, and Daniel Smith were appointed to the 
New England District. Four circuits were named : 
Fairfield, New Haven, Hartford, and Boston. It was 
a vast field, and held tremendous possibilities. The 
next year four hundred and eighty-one members, with 
six organized circuits, were reported ; and the preach- 
ing corps was reenforced by the appointment of half a 
dozen extra itinerants. By 1792 a thousand members 
could be counted, and the work in Connecticut was de- 
tached from the New England District, which was now 
divided into four comprehensive circuits. By rapid 
movements the whole land was thus being marked off 
for future tilling. 

As yet, however, the itinerants had not entered the 
Province of Maine ; but they proposed to do so in ear- 
nest during the following year. Accordingly, at the 
Conference which met at Lynn in August, 1793, As- 
bury appointed the seasoned Jesse Lee to the "Prov- 
ince of Maine and Lynn." Without delay Lee threw 
his battle line far into the Maine wilds, so as to include 
in one vast circuit all the land west of the Kennebec 
River. This work, which was called the Readfield Cir- 
cuit, was nearly two hundred miles east of the next 
nearest Methodist station in New England. Within its 



28 Life of Joshua Soule. 

wide area lay the fertile and isolated Sandy River Val- 
ley and the home of Joshua Soule, the one-time sea 
captain. 

The community at Avon, with its well-tilled farms 
and well-bred people, could not escape the attention of 
so experienced an evangelist as Lee ; so he lost no time 
in making his way into the valley. A preaching 
place was established at a house near the Soule home, 
and there young Joshua heard his first Methodist ser- 
mon at the lips of the Virginian. The miracle which 
was wrought upon Jesse Lee by the preaching of Rob- 
ert Williams, the self-sent missionary to America, was 
destined to be wrought upon Joshua Soule by the 
preaching of Lee and his helpers. Robert Williams 
was the spiritual son of John Wesley, Lee was the son 
of Williams, and Soule the son of Lee. The last days 
of Bishop Soule are vividly alive in the memory of the 
writer of these pages. Joshua Soule, Jesse Lee, Rob- 
ert Williams, John Wesley! Is it so, then, that but 
three steps measure back to the days and work of the 
great Wesley ? 

Could the spirit of prophecy have revealed to the 
Virginia itinerant, breaking paths through the un- 
marked Maine wilderness, that he was there, and not 
long after, to find the youth who, come to years, was to 
give to the laws and assemblies of Methodism the cast 
of enduring consistency and secure its doctrines and 
traditions against the sports of time and the hasty 
judgments of men ; in a word, had it been shown him 
that he was there to discover and touch that spirit 
who, with Wesley and Asbury, was to complete the 
triumvirate of mastery in the first century of Metho- 



"Come and See." 29 

dism, he had had a new incentive for his work. But 
this he could not know. The men of destiny are, like 
the gold nuggets and auriferous quartz, hid in out-of- 
the-way places. They are not many, and patience only 
can discover them. The message which Methodism 
sent to the Avon wilds was not only one which invited 
the farmer lad to test the promise, but it was also' one 
of unconscious need against a fast-coming crisis. A 
man, large, masterful, supreme, was wanted. Whence 
he was to come, who could tell? But the morrow 
awaited his coming. 

Dr. Nathan Bangs, an early historian of Methodism, 
himself a native of New England and a trophy of the 
evangelism of the itinerants, says that the first impres- 
sion made by Lee and his associates on the New En- 
gland folk was that they were men of broken-down 
means and circumstance in the South, who had chosen 
this method of repairing their fortunes. This was a 
compliment to their genteel manners and the business- 
like way in which they went about the discharge of 
their affairs. It was particularly noted that they were 
from the South. Even in that early day the compass 
spoke a significant language. It was the South that 
gave the gospel of Methodism to New England, and 
New England squared a large part of that obligation 
when she gave Joshua Soule to the South. 

In 1795 Enoch Mudge, with Elias Hall as assistant, 
was appointed to the charge of Readfield Circuit. It 
is from Mudge that we have the first account of young 
Soule and of his affiliation with the Methodists. 
Mudge was himself a young man, and had been or- 
dained a deacon only at the Conference which met in 



2o Life of Joshua Soule. 

July of that year. He was intelligent and fervid in 
manner and word, just the messenger to entice and 
capture a candid and reverent youth like Joshua Soule. 
It is certain that a warm and confidential friendship 
grew up between the young men even before Soule be- 
came a Methodist. 

As already stated, a preaching place had been es- 
tablished at Avon by the itinerants. As this was only 
a few furlongs from the home of Captain Soule, his 
son Joshua was attracted to the place and became a 
constant attendant upon the services. He was at this 
time barely fifteen years of age. Mudge gives us this 
account of his youthful auditor: "He had a precocious 
mind, a strong memory, and a manly, dignified turn, 
although his appearance was exceedingly rustic." 
Thus, though the two were brought into close and inti- 
mate relations and the young rustic identified himself 
with the itinerant and his congregation, it appears that 
he did not during Mudge's pastorate make a profes- 
sion of faith or join in society. Perhaps this hesitancy 
in taking a radical religious step was due to that con- 
stitutional deliberation which showed itself in every ac- 
tion of his life; perhaps also he was restrained by re- 
spect for the theological prejudices of his parents. But 
there was no return from the course upon which he had 
set his face. He found in the preaching of the Metho- 
dists a statement of the gospel to which his mind fully 
assented. He turned his back upon Calvinism forever ; 
his heart had never been with it, and in the opposite 
view he found both mental satisfaction and the accord- 
ance of experience. He saw at once the agreement of 
Wesleyan theology with the Scriptures, and recognized 



"Come and See." 31 

it as a thing he had met with in the higher thought of 
books. For the first time he heard a gospel in which 
fear gave place to love — in which, in fact, all fear was 
cast out by perfect love. It was easy to believe with 
such conditions established. 

The time nor the place of his conversion is to 
be fixed so definitely as in the case of Wesley and As- 
bury. "Do you think you could come within three 
days of the exact time of your justification?" he was 
asked late in life. "No," was his reply. "Within a 
month?" "Yes ; nearer than that." "Within a week ?" 
"Yes ; within that space of time I could fix the gra- 
cious change." The sense of change was definite. 

But after conversion there came an experience, a 
revelation so marked and clear that, like the disciple 
invited to "come and see" where Messias dwelt, he re- 
membered ever after the place and hour. On a certain 
morning before sunrise, as had become his established 
habit since meeting with the Methodists, he went out 
into the birch wood to pray. While engaged in this 
devotion he was blessed for the first time with the def- 
inite witness of the Spirit. Before this he had doubt- 
ed; now he doubted no more. Heaven smiled within, 
as it smiled without. A new earth lay about him. The 
testimony to his adoption was complete. His earliest 
spiritual awakening — possibly his conversion — - oc- 
curred under the preaching of Jesse Lee in 1793, when 
he was in his thirteenth year, while the experience 
above described is probably to be referred to the year 
1795 or I 796; but it was not until 1797, and when he 
was fully sixteen years of age, that he assumed the 
vows of Church membership. This occurred under the 



32 Life of Joshua Soule. 

pastorate of Robert Yalalee, who was that year with 
Joshua Taylor (who was also presiding elder) in 
charge of the Readfield Circuit. 

When after a long season of deliberation the convert 
decided to join the Church and chose the communion 
of the execrated Methodists, there was sorrow min- 
gled with indignation in the home of the ex-sea cap- 
tain. The father tried to dissuade his son from ever 
going again amongst the Methodists and sternly inter- 
dicted the step which he had proposed ; while the moth- 
er, amid tears and remonstrations, plainly declared 
that she would regard him as disgraced and ruined if 
he joined himself to the hated sect. Such were the 
bitter prejudices in that region and at that time against 
"the people called Methodists." 

A calm review of the matter in his own heart con- 
vinced the youth that he could pursue no other course 
than that upon which he had determined. He there- 
fore had his father and his mother apart for a consid- 
eration together of his case. "With much respect and 
many tears," to continue the story in his own words, 
"I told them my convictions, and, besides, requested 
them to name a single instance in which I had ever dis- 
obeyed them. But now I felt it my solemn duty to 
unite with the Methodist Church, and to gain their 
consent and approval would afford me more happiness 
than anything else in the world." But the father 
would not abate his opposition, and "his mortification 
grew toward indignition" at the firm proposal ; nor had 
his mother's opposition and displeasure decreased. 
With renewed entreaties and tears she besought him to 
turn aside from his purpose. 



"Come and See." 33 

"It cost me something to be a Methodist," he said in 
after years. "I became one fully expecting to be an 
exile from my father's house." But parental love 
proved stronger than credal prejudice. The son fol- 
lowed the drawings of the Spirit and continued in du- 
tiful service at home. The hot anger and persecutions 
for which he looked were never visited upon him. 
Scant reference was made in the home to the matter 
thereafter, but the son attended his meetings alone. 
However, the power of Calvinism was broken in that 
household, and the end was not distant. 

It seems certainly established that young Soule took 
the vows under Robert Yalalee in 1797, as I have re- 
corded above, but Bishop McTyeire says that "he 
joined the Church under Thomas Cope at one of the 
week-day meetings." This may be easily explained. 
The General Minutes show that Cope was in the New 
England District during both the years 1795 and 1796. 
He likely exchanged in the winter of 1795-96, on the 
three-months plan, with Enoch Mudge, and so re- 
ceived the future bishop into society on probation soon 
after the interview with his parents described above. 
His probation expiring under the pastorate of Yalalee, 
he was admitted to vows in the regular order. This 
understanding accords with the most interesting ac- 
count which Bishop McTyeire and others have given 
of the conversion, soon after, of Captain Soule, his 
wife, two elder sons, and two daughters. In 1796, 
during the probationary period of Joshua's member- 
ship, Cyrus Stebbins was appointed to the care of the 
Readfield Circuit. This Stebbins appears to have been 
a man of extraordinary powers of oratory and of more 
3 



24 Life of Joshua Soule. 

than ordinary education. He had been but a year or 
two in the traveling connection, but was experienced 
in public speech, and had read the controversial books 
of the clay, especially those against Deism on the one 
hand and against Calvinism on the other — the two ex- 
tremes which the early Methodist preachers had to 
meet and refute. The coming of this Boanerges and 
master of polemics into the Sandy River country pro- 
voked from the first a deep interest amongst all classes 
of religious people. Young Soule, who was particular- 
ly impressed by the power and personality of the 
pieacher, was led to wish that his father might hear 
him. There, however, seemed little hope that he could 
be induced to give the champion an audience. But as 
one of Stebbins's week-day appointments was at hand, 
the son resolved to hazard an invitation to his father 
to attend. The two were plowing together in the field, 
and at the turn of a furrow the son said: "Father, a 
distinguished man is to preach for us this afternoon. 
Will you go to hear him?" "No," returned the ex- 
sea captain with viking firmness ; "I have heard one or 
two of these Methodists. They are all alike : enthu- 
siasts, and do not know how to preach." The incident 
seemed to be closed, but the son ventured a respectful 
remonstrance. "Does your law judge a man before he 
is heard?" was a question whose form and spirit were 
equally surprising to the father. He found no words 
with which to answer, but became seriously thoughtful. 
Although still deeply displeased with his son's reli- 
gious affiliations, he was made to respect his decision 
and frankness. 

The noon hour came, and the horses were unhitched, 



"Come and See." 35 

stabled, and fed. After this came the midday meal, 
which was eaten with silence between father and son, 
or at least without a syllable of reference to the conver- 
sation of the morning. The time having arrived when 
the old seaman should have returned to his plowing, the 
son was surprised to hear him order that the two 
horses be groomed and saddled. Within an hour fa- 
ther and son were riding side by side toward the Meth- 
odist preaching place, a mile and a half distant. To 
young Joshua the hour was crucial, the occasion heavy 
with issue. His solicitude was great, but the preacher 
justified the boast which he had made to his father in 
the forenoon. The theme was Ezekiel's vision of the 
dry bones that lived. It was a favorite subject with the 
early itinerants, and suited well the fervid and pictur- 
esque style of Stebbins. The message had power for 
all who heard. The old sea captain listened, surprised, 
interested, and disturbed, if not convinced. Great was 
young Soule's delight when his father consented to be 
presented to the preacher, but what was his joy to hear 
him invite the preacher to accept for the night the hos- 
pitality of his home ! The invitation was accepted with 
a hearty promptness. The tops of the mulberry trees 
were moving prophetically. 

"Knowing my father's prejudices," said the Bishop, 
''I had my fears. He was a thoughtful man, and had 
read much in theology ; and he considered the argu- 
ments for Calvinism unanswerable. Already I saw a 
controversy in store; so I made it convenient to drop 
behind as the company rode along and have a word 
with the preacher, putting him on his guard, and let 
him know what was required and expected of him." 



36 Life of Joshua Soule. 

Next to the outright preaching of the gospel, the early- 
Methodist preachers enjoyed meeting a theological an- 
tagonist spoiling for a controversy. Stebbins furbished 
his armor and loosened his blade. Supper over, the sea 
captain threw down the gage in a general challenge 
of the doctrines antithetical to Calvinism. The field 
thus laid off was a wide one, but Stebbins soon drove 
his host to short strokes on the chief of the "five 
points." The contest was maintained until one o'clock 
the next morning. "With pleasure I saw my father 
hemmed in," declared the Bishop in after years. "He 
could go no farther. He was a candid man, and con- 
fessed himself foiled." Without the anger and resent- 
ment that usually attend the defeat of prejudice and 
bigotry, the old captain saluted the victor and drew off. 
Prayer had been offered in the house night and 
morning during the preacher's visit ; and the next day, 
as his guest prepared to depart, the younger Soule was 
astonished to hear his father invite him not only to 
make his home a regular stopping place, but also to 
hold his monthly circuit preaching services under his 
roof. This invitation was as promptly accepted as the 
first, and the next appointment was published for the 
house of the sea captain. The congregation which 
crowded the chambers of the Avon farmhouse was a 
notable one for the time and the region. Two or three 
Baptist preachers from different parts of the valley 
were present. The neighbors from far and near, en- 
ticed by the juncture of opposites, came to hear the 
champion of Arminianism prophesy in the house of the 
champion of Calvinism. As before, Stebbins rose to 
the demands of the occasion. It was a day remem- 



"Come and See." yj 

bered to the glory of the Son of Man. For a month the 
old seaman had contemplated the wreck of his former 
theological notions ; to-day the tides swept him into a 
new confidence. Within six months of the time that 
Joshua had joined in society on probation his father 
and nearly all the remaining members of the family fol- 
lowed his example. "So early did he begin to show 
those qualities that made him a leader among men, a 
captain of the Lord's host." 

Captain Soule lived many years after his union with 
the Methodists and became an official member and a 
local leader of the Church to which his youngest son 
was destined to give so long and so illustrious a serv- 
ice. 



CHAPTER III. 

Among the Prophets. 

It must be foreseen that a life so evidently sought 
of Providence as was that of the youth Joshua Soule 
could be called to no ordinary destiny. Only the ex- 
pected, therefore, is found to have happened when, at 
the age of seventeen, he confessed that he had received 
a divine commission to preach and asked the Church 
for a license. The early Methodists placed great em- 
phasis upon the doctrine of a distinct call of the evan- 
gelist to his office. This call was looked to as the 
pledge of a distinct experience of grace to be found in 
the hearts of his converts. The points involve what 
may be called the peculiar doctrines of Methodism and 
describe its centripetal and centrifugal forces. The 
messenger is divinely prepared and sent ; the convert is 
divinely sealed. The outcome of Methodism is re- 
ferable to these related tenets. Naked-handed grace 
and providential calls have shown a manifest in strange 
contrast with the ministry of "the younger son" incum- 
bents of farmed-out livings. How different the 
"brown-bread" preachers of Wesley and the rustic 
American itinerants of Asbury from the polished but 
powerless curates of eighteenth century Anglicanism ! 
The finish of the schools, the letter of privileges, and 
the traditions of rank separated them. Before the 
problem of the world's needs the priests of softness 
were helpless, while the men called to the evangel of 
hardness and plainness took the task of the age's re- 
(38) 



Among the Prophets. 39 

demption as they took their native airs. They changed 
the social and religious destinies of England and gave 
to virgin America its enduring evangelical spirit. Al- 
though the early Methodist preachers, both in En- 
gland and the New World, were drawn from many 
different walks of life, they exhibited a class or order- 
likeness which indicated that the entire fraternity had 
been drafted under a common call. Joshua Soule, 
though he early became "the most dominating person- 
ality in American Methodism," was strongly marked 
with the homologies of his order. Indeed, from the be- 
ginning to the end of his career he passed sympathet- 
ically through every rank and stage of experience 
known to the early itinerancy. His preparation came 
in service ; his triumph fell to him not in one supreme 
recognition, but in multiplied installments apportioned 
to the changes of a long life. His own laconic record 
of his career is : "The Lord called me to preach, and I 
went." 

In the year 1797-98 the Province of Maine was 
separated from the remainder of New England and 
erected into a district, with Joshua Taylor as presiding 
elder. There were but six circuits in this district ; and 
of the chief, Readfield, Taylor was made senior pastor 
in addition to his duties as "president elder," with Rob- 
ert Yalalee assistant or junior pastor. It was during 
this year that Joshua Soule completed his probation 
and became a member in full standing of the Avon con- 
gregation. In August, 1798, was held in the Readfield 
church the first Methodist Conference ever convened in 
the territory now embraced within the State of Maine. 
The Readfield church also enjoyed the distinction of 



40 Life of Joshua Soule. 

being the first house of worship built by the Methodists 
in the province. It was a pretentious structure for the 
times and locality, and particularly so, considered as 
the property of the pikestaff followers of Asbury. 

A Methodist Conference being a doubly novel oc- 
casion in the province, it was expected that the attend- 
ance upon it would be great. Five days previous to the 
sitting Bishop Asbury, traveling thither in company 
with Jesse Lee, prophesied that it would "probably 
draw the people from far and near." The expectation 
was not to be disappointed. "From one thousand to 
eighteen hundred souls/' writes Asbury in his Journal, 
"attended public preaching and ordination." A new 
or temporary gallery had been constructed in the 
church. This was so crowded with eager listeners that 
the timbers began to creak and threatened a collapse. 
An incipient panic was started, but was checked with- 
out serious consequences. Nine preachers sat with As- 
bury in this Conference. Jesse Lee was also present, 
but only as Bishop Asbury's traveling companion. 
Enoch Mudge, Timothy Merritt, and Joshua Taylor 
were the leaders of the rank. The district had, how- 
ever, but recently lost by transfer Nicholas Snethen, 
long prominent as one of Asbury's associates and later 
still more prominent as one of the founders of the 
Methodist Protestant Church. The pastors reported 
a total of nearly one thousand members gathered in 
the Province, and this in the short space of five years, 
from a sparse and widely scattered population, in the 
face of all but insuperable difficulties and opposition. 
The O'Kelly defection in Virginia and the Hammitt 
controversy in South Carolina had cost the connection 



Among the Prophets. 41 

a large total of members, but the marked success of the 
preachers in New England had helped to supply the 
loss. The whole of New England could now show a 
total of nearly five thousand members. It was not 
without reason that the soul of the heroic Lee rejoiced 
at what it was permitted him to see at the Readfield 
Conference. 

It is impossible to say positively that the Soules at- 
tended the Conference meeting at Readfield. Most 
probably the son did. His plans for entering himself 
into the ministry were by this time so definite that he 
would certainly wish to attend. The distance was not 
great, and the season of the year was that in which he 
would have the necessary leisure. The fact that al- 
most immediately after this Conference he asked for 
license and began to travel as a "helper" is our best 
reason for thinking that he had heard Asbury's stir- 
ring Conference sermon on "This Ministry" and had 
witnessed the impressive ceremonies of ordination. 

Joshua Taylor was returned to the presiding elder- 
ship of the Maine District, and was also again desig- 
nated as senior pastor of the Readfield Circuit, with 
Jesse Stoneman as junior. Some time in the autumn 
following Joshua Soule was licensed by the Readfield 
Quarterly Conference to preach, and at the same time 
and by the same body was recommended to the An- 
nual Conference for admission into the traveling con- 
nection. Thus, without having been either an exhorter 
or a local preacher, he stepped at a single stride into 
the pastoral rank. The Annual Conference was to 
meet the following June in New York City, so the pre- 
siding elder appointed him to be his traveling compan- 



42 Life of Joshua Soule. 

ion around the district. Upon this service he entered 
on January 5, 1799, his eighteenth birthday being still 
seven months away. Taylor himself was but twenty- 
four years of age, but had already had fully seven 
years of seasoning work as an itinerant. He was a 
mighty man of God, not learned, not gifted as men are 
wont to measure gifts ; but his labors were honored of 
Heaven through a ministry of seventy years. He lived 
to see the rustic lad whom he had inducted into the 
ministry rise to the highest places of distinction and 
power in the Church, and also to witness his intrepid- 
ity in the times when the world divided at his feet. In 
long journeys from Portland to the most distant Meth- 
odist stations on the British border and back again, in 
labors abundant and exhortations multiplied, the young 
presiding elder and his young companion finished the 
Conference year. The mettle of the rustic prophet, but 
recently plucked from the haymow and the husk heaps 
of the barn, began to be seen. The rule was for him to 
exhort after Taylor's sermon. His youth and con- 
strained manner at once secured for him the generous 
sympathy of the people. But his unusual endowments 
were also quickly detected, and it was not long until 
the congregations began to regard the exhortations 
after the elder's sermon as "the last for which the first 
was made." 

There was no Conference held in New England for 
the year 1799, the appointments for the Eastern States 
being made at the Conference held in New York City, 
beginning June 19. In the previous year only seven 
sittings had been appointed for the entire connection, 
and for this year the number had been reduced to six. 



Among the Prophets. 43 

There were two reasons for this. It had been felt by 
the preachers, and the feeling- had been plainly ex- 
pressed, that an unnecessary number of Conference 
meetings were being appointed. There being no Con- 
ference boundary lines then as now, the proximity of 
some of these meetings to one another resulted in much 
confusion. Besides this, Bishop Asbury was now 
alone in the superintendency, and his strength was at 
the lowest ebb. On May 26, less than a month before 
the opening of the Conference in New York, he wrote : 
"I have had great dejection of mind and awful calcu- 
lations of what may be and what may never be. I have 
now groaned along three hundred miles from Balti- 
more." Again, on June 2, he wrote : "Dr. Anderson, 
Drs. Ridgely and Neadham considered my case; they 
advised a total suspension of preaching, fearing a con- 
sumption or a dropsy in the breast." But the way in 
which he "suspended" was to hold the Conference in 
Philadelphia four days thereafter and then push on to 
New York to preach and do double work in that sit- 
ting. Marvelous man ! 

I have searched in vain for some evidence that 
Joshua Soule attended the Conference which received 
him on trial. It is possible that of the ten preachers in 
the Maine District only Joshua Taylor, the presiding 
elder, and Timothy Merritt took the long journey to 
New York. It was not unusual for the presiding elder 
only to report in person where the work of an isolated 
field was to be considered at a distant sitting. It was 
a still more common procedure for the presiding elder 
to represent applicants for admission on trial; so that 
if Soule was really absent from the Conference in New 



44 Life of Joshua Soule. 

York when his case was acted upon, he was in the suc- 
cession of many precedents. Bishop Andrew, his col- 
league and close associate of after years, was not pres- 
ent at the Conference session in South Carolina which 
indorsed his application and gave him a place amongst 
the itinerants. The examinations of those days did 
not lay so much stress on literary preparation as on the 
tongue of good report under which the candidate's 
character and his zeal in evangelism came, and the pre- 
siding elder was his sponsor. 

The Portland Circuit was this year the head station 
of the Maine District, as it had been in the previous 
year. To it Joshua Soule, the acolyte, was assigned as 
junior preacher, with Timothy Merritt as preacher in 
charge. This wilderness curacy was something un- 
usual in extent, being five hundred miles in circumfer- 
ence and containing twenty-seven monthly appoint- 
ments. Sometimes the two itinerants traveled togeth- 
er ; but generally they moved in opposite directions, or 
else with a fortnight and a long reach of roadway be- 
tween' them. A few merchants and land owners, lum- 
bermen, shipbuilders, fishermen, crofters, and laborers 
made up the people whom they found in their wide 
field. The old-new town of Portland, containing then 
not above two thousand people, and many villages 
gave a leaven of politeness and provincial culture to 
the whole. It was, socially speaking, the most impor- 
tant pastorate in the entire district, and, next to the 
Readfield Circuit, contained the largest Methodist pop- 
ulation. It became to the rustic young evangelist from 
Sandy Valley at once a charge to be instructed in spir- 
itual things and a schoolmaster to be used in passing 



Among the Prophets. 45 

himself through the rudiments of self-development and 
training. 

It was at Portland — probably during the previous 
year — that young Soule got his first remembered sight 
of the sea. He was born at the very verge of the 
ocean, but it was only with baby eyes that he there saw 
the far-receding fields of blue on which so many gen- 
erations of his kin had worked out their fortunes and 
destinies. Upon the untraveled landsman the first vi- 
sion of the sea has a distinctly widening impression. 
It is the monitor without lips or hands. In it the Deity 
is mirrored, and upon its bosom is broadly borne the 
dread symbol of eternity. The emotions rise instantly 
and tumultuously to answer its fascinating mysteries ; 
the soul hails it as the echo of itself, and the intel- 
lectual powers strain to conform themselves to its il- 
limitable withdrawings. The tides did not discover a 
poet or a sea dreamer in the young Maine circuit rider, 
but they did awaken a sea-king mastery amongst his 
sober and prodigiously expanding thoughts. From 
that moment he began a conquest of books and gave 
himself to a study of those world-moving concerns 
that engage men at their best. Thus it was that he 
undertook while yet a youth to gather to himself those 
resources of knowledge and power that quickly made 
him "the dominating personality" of his Church. The 
towering head, surmounted by a shock of hair that 
shook like Lebanon, which was so marked a feature of 
his physical ensemble in age, was equally a distinguish- 
ing member in his youth. His cisternlike cranial cavi- 
ties were crammed with healthy gray fiber, fed from 
the shorts of Sandy River cereals, thrilled with the 



46 Life of Joshua Soule. 

ozone of the birch hills, vital with the telepathic fellow- 
ship of all the living great, and, above all, aglow with 
a most genuine religious zeal and faith. 

No detailed record of this or other of Joshua Soule's 
years in Maine has been preserved. Unlike McKen- 
dree and Asbury, he kept no journal, nor did he leave 
other available documents. Bishop McTyeire, who 
twenty-five or more years ago set about to write the 
memoirs of his great colleague, abandoned the work 
because of the paucity of material at hand. But a new 
time has come, opening up to the biographer of the 
father of the Methodist Constitution not only new 
sources of information concerning the earlier years of 
his subject, but also aiding to new interpretations of 
his services rendered in the crucial and historic years 
of the Church's life. The story of these earlier years 
as I am putting it together from point to point has 
been winnowed from the pages of many authors or else 
made to appear through a study of the experiences and 
situations of several of the Bishop's contemporaries. 
However, but for the crown of distinguished service 
pressed upon his brow in later years, the story of his 
earlier sacrifices might have been as hopelessly lost as 
were those of others who labored in the same field. 
Dr. Stevens in his history expresses regret "that from 
the deficiency of the contemporary records of the 
Church names which should be precious in its memory 
must remain in its annals like those fixed stars of our 
firmament the remoteness of which occasions alike our 
ignorance of their conditions and their steadfastness of 
position and brilliance." 

Like Taylor, Merritt was a young man, and had been 



Among the Prophets. 47 

but recently ordained a deacon. Thus it had been 
Soule's fortune to be in the close fellowship of only 
young men — Mudge, Stebbins, Taylor, and Merritt. 
As to that, however, it could hardly have been other- 
wise. Nine out of every ten of the preachers of this 
period were men under forty. Dr. Coke had remarked 
upon this at the Christmas Conference, but he added to 
his observation that hardships and abundant labors had 
left upon their faces a token of maturity and self-mas- 
tery beyond their years. As it had been with Soule the 
year before while traveling with Taylor, so it was in 
his work with Merritt : the interest of their parishion- 
ers largely centered around the younger man. This was 
not because they counted him as already having at- 
tained, but because of his even then "giving promise of 
a future of great usefulness and commanding influ- 
ence." Unlike Asbury and McKendree, the third great 
American bishop — in some respects greater than either 
of the others — manifested destiny from the moment of 
his entrance into the ministry. 

The congeniality of Merritt and Soule was great. 
They mutually thirsted for holiness and knowledge. 
As described by one who knew him through many 
years, Merritt was possessed of a rare intellectual vig- 
or. "His judgment was remarkably clear and discrim- 
inating, grasping the subjects of its investigation in all 
their compass and penetrating to their depths." He 
lacked fancy and imagination, and in this was not an 
uncongenial fellow-thinker with his junior, who was 
from the beginning most severely practical and logical. 
No man of his day had more prominence and influence 
in New England Methodism than Merritt. At a later 



48 Life of Joshua Soule. 

period of his life he became one of, the editors of Z ion's 
Herald (Boston), and at a still later date was assistant 
editor of the New York Advocate and Journal. He, 
too, lived to see his youthful associate attain enduring 
distinction as a leader and lawgiver in Methodism. It 
is thus from the recorded memories of the few of Bish- 
op Soule's early comrades who lived to see his great- 
ness that we are enabled to retrieve enough material 
to reconstruct even the outlines of the story of his be- 
ginning. 

The result of the joint labors of Merritt and Soule 
on the Portland Circuit for the year 1799 was a fair 
increase in the membership. There had also been some 
growth in the eastern circuits, and a new work had 
been formed in the district. It is not now possible to 
tell how much the real increase in the Portland Circuit 
had been cut down by emigration eastward and the de- 
tachments made to form this new circuit. The suc- 
cesses of those years is not to be gauged by the figures 
found in statistical tables. The seeds of future harvests 
were sowed by men who must needs leave to far-off 
successors the full reaping. The reaping came in a 
time ordained of God ; the manner of sowing was not 
less of his ordering. There were at the beginning 
many to hinder. These hindrances usually took a con- 
troversial turn of more or less bitterness. Sometimes 
they were trivial of nature. But whether one or the 
other, the polemics always found "the itinerating ped- 
dlers" equal to the issue. 

Many were the consequential discourses, pamphlets, 
and books launched against Methodism and its pioneer 
representatives in New England. I have just laid down 



Among the Prophets. 49 

an old volume of this class written in rather fiery style 
— an echo of the attrition of Wesleyan theology against 
the fixed body of New England Puritanism. The au- 
thor deals quite severely with Asbury's preachers. 
"Wolves in sheep's clothing," "the false prophets that 
should come in the latter days," "the itinerating ped- 
dlers of a false doctrine" are some of the arguments 
offered in rebuttal against the evangel of free grace 
and conscious salvation from sin. A spirited contrast 
is also drawn between the "republican Puritans" and 
"the monarchy-loving John Wesley," the head of this 
adventurous sect of new Episcopalians. Some threat- 
ening prophecies are also uttered. The miracle of 
Methodism's New England success is all the greater 
in view of these things. But a time was at hand when 
New England Methodism was producing and exhibit- 
ing an indigenous ministry. Joshua Soule was the ef- 
fectual answer to a hundred Puritan anti-Methodist 
prophecies. A handful of corn from the top of the 
mountain now seeded the furrows of the most distant 
valleys and hillsides. 

A high authority in New England Methodist history 
describes a typical revival season in Maine in which 
Merritt was the chief human instrumentality. Its 
signs were those which marked the Jarratt and Shad- 
ford meetings in Virginia about the beginning of the 
Revolutionary War. The fire burned from house to 
house and from community to community. The hymns 
sung through the wildwoods of Maine were not dif- 
ferent in word or spirit from those sung in the assem- 
blies of Virginia. The miracle of the Methodism 
of the eighteenth century was its victories in New En- 
4 



eo Life of Joshua Soule. 

gland. With New England, Methodism received Josh- 
ua Soule. 

Lynn, in the eastern part of Massachusetts, had been 
the headquarters of Jesse Lee in 1793, when he planned 
the successful invasion of the Province of Maine. The 
Conference had also met there in that year, as it had in 
the year 1792. It was a post of importance to the 
Methodists, and, being midway between Maine and the 
southern stations, was selected for the session of the 
Conference of 1800. It was Soule's first Conference as 
an itinerant, and it introduced him to a wider fellowship 
of his brethren than he had yet enjoyed. Amongst the 
important men of his day whom he at this time added 
to his acquaintance were Daniel Ostrander, George 
Pickering, Thomas F. Sargent, Joshua Wells, Elijah 
R. Sabin, and Epaphras Kibbey, the last named being 
that year appointed to Readfield Circuit. 

Soule had now had well-nigh two years of experi- 
ence as an itinerant, and his brethren judged it safe to 
intrust to him the undivided responsibility of a pastoral 
charge. He was accordingly assigned to the Union 
River Circuit, the southernmost work in Maine, and 
extending from the Penobscot to the British line. It 
was a new work resulting from a rearrangement of the 
circuit lines of the previous year. From the statistics 
—the only clew left us— nothing definite can be learned 
concerning the work or the progress of the charge dur- 
ing the year. It was an immemorial year. Lost was 
the young itinerant in the wilds of a primitive land in 
which he traveled lonely and interminable paths which 
he himself often blazed or broke through the unmarked 
forests ; but that he went on as before, "thirsting for 



Among the Prophets. 51 

knowledge and holiness," there can be no manner of 
doubt, for he reappears at the end of the long and rec- 
ordless year, his heart aglow with zeal and his face 
shining as from a vision of divine glory vouchsafed in 
a place apart. Silent as was that year, it is certain that 
it was during its months that it was discovered to his 
superiors that in him a man of extraordinary powers 
and capabilities was beginning to develop. 

Early in July, 1801, the pastor of the Union River 
Circuit repaired to the ship port at the mouth of the 
Penobscot, and there took passage for Boston, meaning 
to go from there to Lynn, where, as in the previous 
year, the Conference was to meet. The not unusual 
experience of a sailor befell on the voyage. Contrary 
winds and calms played havoc with the ship's schedule, 
so that before Soule could reach Lynn the Conference 
had finished its work and adjourned. He had, how- 
ever, been approvingly reported of by his elder, admit- 
ted by vote into full connection, and elected to deacon's 
orders. His assignment for the year, he discovered, 
was to the Sandwich Circuit, in that region of Massa- 
chusetts contiguous to Cape Cod. The Methodists 
were not numerous in that quarter ; and as it was at the 
very center of New England Puritanism, great things, 
in the sense in which other regions had received the 
Wesleyans, were not to be expected. The year's service, 
however, introduced the Maine rustic into new condi- 
tions and such as were calculated to quicken his intel- 
lectual motions as well as try the manner of his faith 
and convictions. That he experienced a test of his 
spiritual substance, there can be little doubt; but the 
men of that time came from the fire like gold when it 



e 2 Life of Joshua Souk. 

is tried. During this year he laid hold upon a larger 
acquaintance in the older section of New England and 
attracted the attention of the older and stronger men of 
the connection. He had for presiding elder this year, 
as during all his previous itinerant experience, his 
warm-hearted and faithful friend, Joshua Taylor. For 
near neighbors in the work he had Joshua Wells, on 
the Nantucket charge, and George Pickering and 
Thomas F. Sargent on the Boston, Lynn, and Mar- 
blehead Circuit. That was a fitting fellowship for one 
who in youth bore the manifest signs of future intel- 
lectual and spiritual greatness. Southward in the third 
New England district were also such men as Peter 
Vannest, Phinehas Peck, and Elijah R. Sabin, with 
whom he must have had early and comforting inter- 
course. The whole itinerant body in New England in 
those years was knit into compactness of purpose 
through the dominance of a spirit of unworldliness and 
brotherly affection. The pressure of opposition from 
without enhanced the centripetality of their love. In 
that unity and testimony they were irresistible. 

The New England Conference meeting for 1802 was 
appointed to be held at Monmouth, Province of Maine, 
July 1 ; but on the way thither Bishops Asbury and 
Whatcoat held at Cranston, Rhode Island, on June 20, 
a preliminary meeting or conference for the benefit of 
the preachers in the two southern districts. At this 
meeting Joshua Soule was ordained a deacon, he hav- 
ing failed, as it will be remembered, to reach the Con- 
ference of the previous year. Bishop Asbury was in an 
exceptionally feeble frame, and the offices were taken 
by Bishop Whatcoat. Bishop Asbury's Journal speaks 



Among the Prophets. 53 

of but one ordination at this meeting. The candidate 
was Joshua Soule. After the ordination came the sac- 
rament ; and after that the bishops in turn preached a 
full-timed discourse, and then the memorable session 
adjourned. It is certain that Soule did not go on to 
Monmouth to attend the regularly appointed session, 
and that he, with the other preachers of the southern 
stations, received their appointments at this time. Bish- 
op Asbury says that at the Maine sitting there were 
present "fifteen members and nine probationers." The 
appointments for the Maine District for this year show 
eighteen names. Only six attendants, therefore, from 
the Massachusetts stations would have been necessary 
to complete the number. The Boston District alone 
shows sixteen names. Bishop Asbury also names the 
deacons who were examined and ordained, and the 
name of Joshua Soule is wanting. 

Like the Conference held at Readfield in 1798, this 
Conference at Monmouth was one long remembered. 
From two to three thousand people attended. Five 
sermons were preached, and Bishop Asbury closes his 
Journal note on the occasion with the hope "that many 
went away profited." In the list of appointments there 
completed and read out Joshua Soule was assigned to 
the Needham Circuit, whose nearest preaching places 
were within a few hours' ride of Boston. For junior 
associate he had that year Dan Perry, admitted most 
likely at the Cranston meeting, when Soule was or- 
dained to the diaconate. Perry appears to have been a 
man of moderate talents. He, however, rendered ac- 
ceptable service and advanced to the order of elder, but 
located permanently in 1809. 



CA Life of Joshua Soule. 

As with Soule's two previous years, the year on the 
Needham Circuit has no detailed memorial in any ex- 
tant record. There remain but the bare figures of the 
statistical tables, and these show a slight decrease in 
membership for the year ; but the testimony of being a 
strict disciplinarian, borne to him on all sides, may ex- 
plain this. He preached and demanded, as did Asbury, 
the observance of "the Methodist rule." It will be re- 
membered that while young Asbury was advocating 
and making possible the mighty scheme of the Ameri- 
can itinerancy, the society in New York dwindled in 
membership under his rigid disciplinary rule. Soule 
was in this succession ; and yet he was known to be, 
both as a pastor and bishop, most careful not to apply 
any rule of discipline until the last means of correction 
had been exhausted. In later life he declared that he 
had "scarcely ever found a case in which persevering 
efforts failed to restore the wanderer." Perhaps in his 
first experiences he was himself wanting in persever- 
ance in this office. 

The Conference appointed for New England in 1803 
met in Boston the second Thursday in June, being the 
eighth day. Both Bishops Asbury and Whatcoat were 
present, and both were feeble. Bishop Asbury's Jour- 
nal says : "We ordained Joshua Soule and Nathan Em- 
ory elders, and Edward Whittle deacon." It is definite- 
ly known that Soule was ordained by Bishop What- 
coat to the eldership, as he had been by him ordained 
the previous year to the diaconate. 

It may be remarked upon in passing that at this 
time Bishop Asbury recorded in his Journal his con- 
viction that the great needs of Boston were "good reli- 



Among the Prophets. 55 

gion and good water." He would not mention names, 
but he "could tell of a congregation in Boston that sold 
their pastor to another congregation for $1,000, and 
then hired the money out at the unlawful interest of 
twenty or thirty per cent." "How would it tell to 
the South," he asks, "that priests were amongst the no- 
tions of Yankee traffic?" It cannot be doubted that 
Asbury was very much of a Southerner in his day, as 
Soule soon afterwards became. The Boston District 
for 1803 contained thirteen appointments, served by 
seventeen itinerants. The fourth appointment in the 
list read : "Nantucket, Joshua Soule." 

Nantucket Island, off the mainland of Massachusetts, 
with its neighboring islets, has constituted the county 
of Nantucket since the organization of the colony into 
a commonwealth. In colonial times, as now, it had a 
thrifty population engaged almost wholly in whaling 
and cod-fishery. It was such a community as invited 
and attracted the early Methodists. In 1799 the island 
was named as one of the Massachusetts stations, and 
Joseph Snelling was placed in charge. By 1803 nearly 
a hundred members had been gathered into society. 
Perhaps on no part of the soil of New England did 
the Methodists meet so little opposition as amongst 
the crofters and hardy fishermen of Nantucket Island. 
It can be imagined how cordially they would welcome 
as their pastor the son of a once famous seaman, whose 
name and ship may no doubt have been remembered by 
not a few of the older skippers. It is equally probable 
that the itinerant found there some of his own kith and 
kin, the near-by coast being the boyhood home of his 
father. 



e6 Life of Joshua Soule. 

The Rev. Enoch Mudge, who, it will be remembered, 
was one of Soule's early religious advisers, reported in 
a correspondence had with Dr. Abel Stevens that while 
on the New London Circuit in 1794 he had received 
into society on probation Sarah Allen, an orphan, then 
in her twelfth year. She was at the time receiving her 
education, though I can get no clew as to whether this 
was at New London or Providence, which latter place 
was her home. This Christian maiden, of whose youth 
so tender and beautiful a memory is preserved, and of 
whose devoted years of womanhood and age so many 
testimonials abide, was destined to be the wife of 
Joshua Soule. On the 18th day of September, 1803, 
being then in her twentieth year, she gave her hand in 
marriage to her itinerant lover and went with him to 
spend the remainder of the year on his circuit in the 
Atlantic Island. The unbroken felicity of their mar- 
ried life was to continue for more than four and fifty 
years. 



CHAPTER IV. 
The Methodist Proconsul. 

The presiding eldership in early Methodism was the 
right arm of its power. It made the episcopacy ef- 
fective — the episcopacy as expressed in the authority, 
personality, and policy of Francis Asbury. But for the 
"captains of tens" even the apostolic purpose of the 
captain of the general itinerant host had become in- 
creasingly ineffective, and the host itself had marched 
and countermarched in the ways of a growing confu- 
sion. Jesse Lee, presiding elder, very largely expounds 
the history of the first stages of Methodist propagation 
in New England, while the triumphs of the early itin- 
erants in the West are closely related to the leadership 
of William McKendree, their local overseer. 

Asbury had remarkable insight into character, but 
this skill in character-reading became effective through 
his use of the presiding eldership. When he sought 
an official representative, he almost invariably put his 
hand on the right man. The men who constituted the 
presiding eldership in his day had been made to his 
purpose, as Arthur made his knights. They had be- 
come bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, thinking 
his thoughts and animated by his spirit. They repro- 
duced his leadership in a hundred provincial fields ; 
they divined his policies afar off, and made them ef- 
fective in his absence. 

As the connection grew in membership and extent 

(57) 



58 Life of Joshua Soule. 

of territory, the office of the presiding eldership grew 
in importance and effectiveness. The incumbent be- 
came an ecclesiastical proconsul, his authority extend- 
ing over the face of whole provinces and, in some cases, 
including the territory of several incipient States. The 
talent and courage of the initiative were expected of 
him. He obeyed orders, but his orders prescribed a 
wide latitude. He broadly interpreted the statutes of 
his fraternity and brought things to pass. He magni- 
fied his office and made it forever honorable. But his 
personality was the main asset of his administration. 
Where that failed, the office failed. Nor has time 
changed the working of the law. The episcopacy itself 
comes under the rule : its responsibilities become op- 
portunity to the man providentially called. It is a 
great office when great talents and a great soul are 
united to administer it. Methodism is a personal force 
throughout. 

Joshua Soule, the man of what marked personality 
has already been shown, the destined expounder of the 
design and uses of the presiding eldership, was called 
to administer that office when but twenty-three years 
of age. His appointment expressed both the personal 
and the official choice of Bishop Asbury. The New 
England Conference for the year 1804 met at Buxton, 
Province of Maine. Asbury 's Journal contains no en- 
try concerning the Conference session, but notes many 
incidents of the going and returning journeys. The 
particular minute in the proceedings of the Conference 
which concerns our narrative is this: "District of 
Maine, Joshua Soule, presiding elder." The extent of 
the commission was apostolic. 



The Methodist Proconsul. 59 

The peculiar phraseology of the minute was justi- 
fied. The presiding elder's district to which Soule was 
appointed embraced the entire Province, or political dis- 
trict, of Maine. It was one thousand two hundred 
miles around this mighty realm. It contained twelve 
circuits and a single station. From the marshes and 
downs of the near sea level the paths which the itin- 
erant rode climbed the shingly declivities and the in- 
land mountains, compassed innumerable lakes, crossed 
wide streams and dashing torrents, and penetrated with 
tortuous windings darkling forests in many of which 
the sound of the woodman's ax had never been heard. 
He sought the remotest settlements, made regular junc- 
tions with the courses of the circuit riders, and "shared 
fully the sufferings of the early itinerancy." He braved 
the storms of winter, lodged in the cabins of squatters, 
or slept as often in the frost, with only the snowdaden 
branches of the birch for a roof. And for what earth- 
ly reward? His compensation amounted to scarcely 
more than enough to meet his expenses. But the divine 
Spirit who "selected and anointed him in youth for his 
signal achievements in the Church" gave him courage 
and also provided the needful bread. The young wife 
was either at the paternal home in Sandy River Valley, 
where the chivalric zeal and energy of the first Metho- 
dist preachers he knew had fired his heart with a de- 
sire for heavenly adventure, or else was with friends in 
Portland, where his first pastoral labors had been given. 
During two years' service on this district all the days he 
was permitted to spend in the company of that young 
wife did not amount to three weeks. But "she had his 



60 Life of Joshua Soule. 

spirit" and encouraged him to endure hardness as a 
good soldier of Jesus Christ.* 

It was during this presiding eldership that his powers 
as a preacher ripened into fullness and effectiveness. 
Nature made his body, his featural aspects, and his 
voice into an instrument of mastery. His presence was 
commanding, and before his mouth was even opened 
his hearers confessed his authority. Grace and pa- 
tient effort had added the substance, the passion, and 
the letter of the message. Three things make a great 
preacher — namely, a passionate belief in the truth of 
his message, a knowledge of its contents to the satura- 
tion of his mind and heart, and the intellectual and 



*While presiding at a Western Conference, after he had 
been more than twenty years a bishop, he indulged in the 
following eloquently expressed sentiments stirred by a review 
of the labors and providences of his years : "I have occupied 
the humblest cabin, scarcely supplied with the necessaries of 
life. I have slept on the earth with a bearskin for my couch 
and the heavens for my protection. I have bedded on snow 
from three to four feet deep with the heavens spread over 
me, and from such scenes of deprivation and exposure I have 
entered the stately mansion house with every comfort earth 
can afford. And what was the great difference to me? What 
matters it to a man who has covenated with God and the 
whole Church to devote himself wholly to the work of saving 
souls, whether he occupies a wigwam or a palace, so that he 
may fulfill his sacred vows and accomplish the glorious work 
of the ministry? To such a man all outward things should 
be equal. His bliss depends on no such accidents. Man's 
soul is an empire in itself, and should scorn to repose on such 
trifles. I declare to you, brethren, I care not whether I fall 
at home in the bosom of my family or far away among 
strangers, so that I may fall at my post." 



The Methodist Proconsul. ' 61 

physical aptitudes for its pronouncement. These all 
met in Joshua Soule. The foundations of his experi- 
ence were deeply laid in faith and love. He was pro- 
foundly spiritual, and the witness within had been con- 
firmed through tests that left his confidence steadfast. 
He had the Pauline passion for evangelization. He 
was but little in debt to the schoolmaster ; but he had 
found a private key to the "king's treasures" of knowl- 
edge, and had appropriated a great wealth of practical 
and classical information which he used with facility 
both in conversation and public discourse. The high 
tides of his perorations flowed easily into the grandeur 
of those great epics and prose masterpieces from which 
he was accustomed to quote. Here it was that deep an- 
swered to deep. 

It is to be remembered that these words are written 
concerning a man who had not yet fully rounded out 
his twenty-fourth year. When all the circumstances 
are considered, it is doubtful if the history of the pulpit 
furnishes a parallel of this development of power and 
mastery in expression in one so youthful. 

The camp meeting and the other evangelistic adapta- 
tions so effectively used by the Methodists in the earlier 
years of the nineteenth century were coming into vogue 
in New England, and particularly in the Province of 
Maine. These furnished great assemblies upon whom 
the preaching of the youthful presiding elder produced 
impressions the most tremendous not only as to the 
convincing and convicting logic of its gospel, but also 
as to its mastery of form. Of his sermons at this time 
Dr. Stevens, the Church historian, says: "They were 
reported to have been distinguished by that breadth 



62 Life of Joshua Soule. 

of view and majesty of style which in later years, not- 
withstanding some abatement through the variety of 
his responsibilities, have continued to mark with great- 
ness his pulpit efforts. His word was oftentimes in 
irresistible power, bearing down upon the large assem- 
blies which collected to hear him like the storm on the 
bending forest." A period selected from the perora- 
tion of a sermon delivered some years later may be 
taken as typical of that "breadth of view and majesty 
of style" which characterized his camp-meeting and 
other discourses delivered while a presiding elder in 
Maine : "Man is subject to bondage through fear ; con- 
scious of his accountability, his sinfulness, and guilt; 
and knowing that it is appointed to him once to die, 
and after death to appear in judgment, he trembles at 
the thought of his approaching dissolution, and fears 
to appear in the presence of his Judge. Reason affords 
him but a feeble support in the hour of his alarm and 
trial. Her lights are but dim in the dark valley through 
which he has to pass, and she casts but a glimmering 
ray on the scenes of eternity which lie before him. 
What shall dispel his doubts, remove his fears, support 
his trembling spirit, and illuminate his path? What 
shall fortify him against the terrors of these tremen- 
dous events? The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
through which life and immortality are brought to 
light ; the gospel of the grace of God, the fountain of 
pardon and purification in the grand atonement, the 
foundation of a steadfast and lively hope in its exceed- 
ing great and precious promises." 

Add to a concourse of periods like this a sonorous 
voice, a commanding figure, a masterful personality, 



The Methodist Proconsul. 63 

and an exalted and tested purpose, and you discover 
the hiding of the power that bore down the multitudes 
as the storms bear down the trees of the forest. 

The Minutes for 1804 show five districts in the New 
England Conference. Besides that of Soule, the names 
of the presiding elders of three of these districts are 
still gratefully cherished in the hearts of New England 
Methodists and also of Methodists at large. These 
names are John Brodhead, Daniel Ostrander, and 
George Pickering. The statistics for the year showed 
nearly nine thousand members, of whom two thousand 
four hundred were in the District of Maine. This 
showed a net increase of two hundred for the year in 
the district. The New England membership was al- 
ready half that of the Baltimore Conference, and 
the two thousand four hundred in full connection in 
Maine probably represented an entire tenth of the 
population of the Province. Such was the advance 
which Methodism, led by an indigenous presiding 
eldership, was making in the newest ''land of the 
Presbyterians." 

Soule's second year as the Methodist proconsul of 
the Province of Maine was in all likelihood much the 
same as the first ; but as with the first, there abides so 
scant a record of its work that it could be put into a 
sentence or two. What is certainly known stands in 
the statistical tables and the appointments as printed in 
the General Minutes for the year. The Conference for 
New England met at Lynn July 12. Concerning the 
session Bishop Asbury's Journal says: "We had a full 
Conference. Preaching at five, at eleven, and at eight 
o'clock. Sitting of Conference from half past eight mi- 



64 Life of Joshua Soule. 

til eleven in the forenoon, and from two until six in the 
afternoon. We had great order and harmony, and 
strict discipline withal. Sixteen deacons and eight eld- 
ers were ordained." The meeting was in a grove near 
the chapel. For the text of his closing sermon Bishop 
Asbury chose 1 Thessalonians ii. 6-9, and discoursed 
on "The Gospel of God" — its content (Christ) ; its 
privileges, precepts, power; the apostolic purity im- 
posed upon those who preach it. With this utterance 
of the venerable Bishop as a new injunction and in- 
spiration, the successors of Lee rode away to their dis- 
tant fields. The pastoral sermon, which has ever been 
an event of the Methodist Conference week, has an 
extraordinary significance and influence ; but that also 
turns on the larger significance of personality — person- 
ality revealed by grace. 

Dr. Nathan Bangs, writing of the general work of 
Methodism for this year, says : "Nothing out of the or- 
dinary course of things occurred. The work of God 
went gradually on. The camp meetings spread more 
and more in the Central and Northern States, and they 
were generally attended with increasing interest." The 
same writer gives an account of one of these meetings 
held in the latitude of Maine and bearing a close like- 
ness to those at which Soule was accustomed to utter 
those mighty and torrential discourses which, judged by 
every account, were characteristic of his ministry at 
this time. "The meeting," says the historian, "was held 
in an open field, and the exercises were accompanied by 
a mighty display of the awakening and converting, as 
well as the sanctifying, grace of God. On the third day 
such awful sensations were produced under the preach- 



The Methodist Proconsul. 65 

ing that many stout-hearted sinners were bowed before 
the Lord, while the people of God were filled with joy 
unspeakable." 

The time had come when there was to be a division 
of the vast territory comprising the presiding elder's 
"District of Maine," but the incumbent of one of the 
new overseerships was to realize that there was to be 
no lessening of his labors. At the session of the New 
England Conference held in Canaan, New Hampshire, 
June 12, 1806, the "District of Maine" was divided 
into eastern and western halves and called respectively 
the Portland and the Kennebec Districts. The larger 
and newer district, the Kennebec, fell to Soule, while 
the Portland District was put under the charge of Oli- 
ver Beale. Asbury is credited with saying at the time 
the appointments were made that he should have con- 
sidered Soule for the lighter and more agreeable task of 
superintending the Portland District, only he feared 
Beale would fail under the strain and hardship of the 
Kennebec task. Thus again did this master of spirits 
show his ability to weigh as in his open hands the dif- 
fering substances of those with whom he dealt. Beale 
rendered acceptable service on his district, and was in 
the active work of the itinerancy as late as 1840; but 
he was never a Joshua Soule. 

The Kennebec District contained the old Readfield 
Circuit; and thus Soule was able to fall back upon, or 
rather retain, his home at Avon as a base. It is, how- 
ever, not at all certain that this was the fixed residence 
of the family during any considerable part of his pre- 
siding elder experience in Maine. But wherever the 
place called home, the faithful wife who shared his 

5 



66 Life of Joshua Soule. 

spirit made it bright and cheerful for his returns from 
long and laborious visitations on the district. By this 
time two of their children had been born, and the heart 
and hands of the young mother were filled with new 
and growing, if still happy, cares. 

Dr. Stevens and Bishop McTyeire agree that it was 
the exceptional prosperity of the Maine District under 
Soule that induced Asbury to divide it in the way de- 
scribed. The increase in membership had been healthy, 
though not extraordinary. The growth emphasized 
was in other directions. Scattered classes had been 
gathered into compact organizations. New and hope- 
ful preaching places had been established, and houseless 
societies had been provided with chapels. Most of all, 
the presence and spirit of Methodism had been recog- 
nized from one side of the Province to the other, and 
the whole had taken tone and color from the persistent 
energy and personal traits of the presiding elder. The 
preaching of the rustic master of the pulpit had, in fact, 
given all Maine a new view of the meaning and uses of 
the gospel. The knowledge, too, that he was an indige- 
nous product, a fellow-citizen, added a pleasing empha- 
sis to his message and leadership and secured him a 
ready recognition in every community into which he 
was called by his labors. 

The first year on the Kennebec District ran from 
June, 1806, to June, 1807. It was not eventful out of 
the ordinary ; if so, the record of such fact has not per- 
sisted. But it was the miraculous that became the ex- 
pected events of those days. The men of the saddle- 
bags, Bible, and hymn book lived in an atmosphere of 
fire. Pentecost marked the high commonplace of their 



The Methodist Proconsul. 67 

thoughts. It need not be claimed that they possessed 
a sanctity above the men of the ministry to-day. They 
perhaps lacked in some important elements ; possibly 
their emotions were sometimes overstrained. As a 
rule, they were not men of culture; but their faith was 
constantly and contagiously alive. In that faith 
they preached and reaped the abundant fruit of their 
sowing. 

It was during this year that Bishop Asbury carried 
around to the Annual Conferences the proposition to 
call a convention of traveling elders for the purpose 
of settling the superintendency of the Church on a 
permanent basis. The reason for this call was the 
certainty of the early death of Bishop Whatcoat and 
the fact that Bishop Coke was permanently engaged 
abroad. The plan was to strengthen the episcopacy by 
having this convention of elders elect one or more col- 
leagues for Asbury. The New England Conference, as 
Bishop Asbury's Journal informs us, concurred in this 
call, which had originated with the New York Confer- 
ence, and "seven elders were elected accordingly." The 
names of these delegates are not given, but it is certain 
that Soule was among the number chosen. Here had 
no doubt been given an opportunity for him to display 
that extraordinary talent which two years later made 
him the man of the hour ; but the convention was des- 
tined never to assemble. In the session of the Vir- 
ginia Conference which followed the whole scheme was 
given its quietus. The time for settling the constitution 
of Methodism and the status of its episcopacy was yet 
two years off. History waited. 

The session of the New England Conference for 



68 Life of Joshua Soule. 

1807 was held in Boston. The collection for the 
preachers reached an aggregate of but $800. As this 
was the last sitting of the year, Bishop Astmry was 
able to show that there was a deficit of three thousand 
dollars for the connection. Small enough seems that 
deficit at this day, but it fell heavily on the needy itin- 
rants ; and more than travel and toil indicated what 
these heroic men and their families were called upon to 
suffer. But notwithstanding this shortage, the whole 
line advanced. Seventeen deacons and elders were or- 
dained at Boston. It is now only eighteen years since 
Jesse Lee, solitary and unheralded, entered New En- 
gland, in which was not so much as one member in 
society ; and now behold seventeen traveling preachers 
ordained in a single year ! 

The Conferences for 1808 were pushed into the early 
and middle spring so as to clear the way for the Gen- 
eral Conference, which had been fixed for May 6. 
The session of the New England Conference fell on 
Easter Sunday, April 17. "We wrought in haste, in 
great order, and in peace through a great deal of 
business," wrote Asbury in his Journal. After sitting 
four days, exclusive of Sunday, the Conference was 
ready to "arise." All eyes were turned toward Bal- 
timore. 

The General Conference which was so near at hand 
was the last of the mass conventions of elders that went 
under that name. All itinerants of four years' stand- 
ing were eligible, so that no elections were had for del- 
egates in the Annual Conference. Intense interest cen- 
tered in the coming session, since it was understood 
that radical changes would be undertaken, and that it 



The Methodist Proconsul. 69 

was to be the last gathering of its character in the 
Church. A considerable number of the New England 
preachers, amongst whom was Joshua Soule, pre- 
pared to attend this General Conference, which was to 
sit in Baltimore. Soule had just been transferred from 
the Kennebec to the Portland District, where, as it 
fell out, he was destined to spend a full term of four 
years. He had therefore only to arrange for the re- 
moval of his family to Portland and set some prelimi- 
nary matters in order before beginning his journey 
southward. Even short journeys were long in those 
days, and the matter of time had to be calculated with 
generous margins for miscarriages and delays. The dis- 
tance from Boston to Baltimore was steady riding for 
a week. The sea voyage required scarcely less time, 
and was far more uncertain. From a mere hint in the 
account of the General Conference session it may be in- 
ferred that the New England representatives had gone 
to Baltimore overland, and that in a body. 

The fame of Soule was now no longer provincial 
only. The General Conference — the first which he at- 
tended—brought him into the broader field and service 
of the connection. "He comes forward," says Bishop 
McTyeire, "a figure and an influence not to be lost sight 
of for the next half century." 

The history of American Methodism cannot be writ- 
ten, even by unfriendly partisans, without making hon- 
orable mention of his name or leaving a wide gap that 
cannot be filled ; for in addition to his power as a gospel 
preacher, he possessed "the plain, heroic magnitude of 
mind which shows its presence chiefly in affairs." In 
the councils of his Church he was what Jefferson and 



jo Life of Joshua Soule. 

Hamilton were in the councils of the State. But the 
story of Soule's relations to the epoch-making General 
Conference of 1808 is matter for an independent chap- 
ter, in which will be undertaken a full study of the con- 
stitution and of its author in that historic and destiny- 
making office. 



CHAPTER V. 

Writing the Constitution. 

The constitution and administrative canons of 
American Methodism complete a system of polity 
which at first glance appears to be complicated and 
involved. A careful study of the whole will, however, 
serve to remove this impression and show the scheme 
of Methodist government to be a logical and orderly 
relation, historically derived. The scheme is indeed 
the result of persistent evolutional processes which be- 
gan in the paternally governed Methodist societies in 
England. Some of the crucial and more important 
stages of the development of methods and constitu- 
tional measures were covered per saltum; but still in 
the personalities of the men who devised and effected 
these transitions the law of an orderly and logical ad- 
vance was embodied and justified. In the transition 
of its polity from largely unwritten to definitely writ- 
ten principles 1 — a preeminent stage of advance — Meth- 
odism employed chiefly the acumen and statesmanlike 
wisdom of one of its younger itinerants, Joshua Soule. 

In estimating the significance of the constitution as 
first drafted by Soule, as also its claims to a high 
originality, it must be considered, first, how completely 
it conserves and conforms to previously existing 
Methodist ideals as well as to those which may be said 
to have existed prophetically in the Methodist spirit, 
and yet how boldly divergent from precedents — and, 
as it proved, from the prevalent sentiment of the body 

(71) 



72 Life of Joshua Soule. 

itself — was the line of its phrasing and inclusions! 
The mastery of its authorship is evident after the most 
casual reading, and it was that mastery, written broad- 
ly through the whole document, which caused it to 
prevail over a normally unfriendly majority. 

It has been contended that Methodism had a con- 
stitution before the restrictive writings of 1808. This 
contention may well be allowed, and not on the 
grounds of a mere courtesy of debate. The mass meet- 
ing General Conferences legislated and the general 
superintendency administrated under certain well- 
understood principles, and were restrained within cer- 
tain more or less clearly marked bounds. These were 
dangerously broad, and brought new perils into view 
at each successive meeting of the ecclesiastical legis- 
lature. Nor was the written constitution when it 
came a complete reduction of these principles. There 
is still a field of legitimate Methodist action without 
the constitution, but always subsidiary thereto. The 
constitution, however, took the highest of the many 
courses that might have been taken by an act of the 
unchartered body ; but, significantly enough, it took 
the very one it would not have taken had the majority 
been left to follow its first and unconstrained impulse. 
It is forced upon the student that this constitution 
came at the last moment of opportunity. So far as 
human judgment can say, another quadrennium would 
have defeated it. The restrictive enactments ended the 
tendency toward disintegration. 

The consequent manner in which the writing of the 
Church's constitution was brought about is, after the 
instrument's intrinsic fitness, the pledge of its binding 



Writing the Constitution. 73 

force. This fact, however, the men of the epoch- 
making assembly of 1808, including the father of the 
constitution himself, did but imperfectly comprehend, 
as they but imperfectly comprehended the greatness 
and serviceableness of the thing they had brought to 
pass. And this also is of logic and agreeable to ex- 
perience. Time is the true interpreter. The greater 
a creation^ the longer will be the perspective demanded 
by the eye that is to take it in. 

Three persistent and sufficient causes produced in 
the Church the demand for a written constitution. I 
shall notice these not in the order of their weight or 
urgency as considered at the time of action, but in 
the order of their arising in Methodism as the effects 
of unfinished devices or the results of long-accepted 
plans that threatened miscarriage. 

The state and status of the episcopacy constituted the 
question of longest standing in the Church which called 
for definite treatment in a fundamental writing. But 
though this was the oldest of the several issues, it 
gave least concern to the connection. However, it was 
early seen that both the protection and the regulation 
of the office would have to be provided for in some 
enduring way, and this necessity was constantly em- 
phasized by the obtrusion of the other issues. 

The American societies had accepted the episcopacy 
as part of the patrimony bequeathed to them by Wes- 
ley. Receiving it in this fashion, they proceeded 
through their official heads to adopt and adapt it. So 
that while it may be said that American Methodism 
received its episcopacy from Wesley, it gave to the 
office such a status as it chose. Up to 1808 there had 



74 Life of Joshua Soule. 

been no turning back from the definition and settle- 
ment of the episcopacy in 1784. Indeed, the doctrine 
of the superintendency then accepted had been re- 
peatedly affirmed. It was not to alter or in any wise 
modify the episcopal office that a writing was desired, 
but rather to fix it within the limits of what were be- 
lieved to be the standards of the New Testament and 
the demands of expediency. Bishop Asbury was filially 
trusted by the great body of the preachers, but it was 
foreseen that another with his lease of power might 
abuse the office. Also the opposition to Asbury and 
even to the superintendent's office in the abstract led 
these same loyal ones to see that without a written set- 
tlement the time might come when the office itself 
could be overthrown. A doubly restrictive rule was 
the remedy, though the sense of need did not at once 
bring to a juncture the opportunity and the man 
destined to produce it. 

The state of the episcopacy was with the early 
Methodists always a more urgent matter than its 
status. When Coke and Asbury were put at the head 
of the newly organized Church, in 1784, it was felt 
that the largest demand for oversight had been met. 
Had Coke remained in America, this might have been 
the case, though it is doubtful if he possessed the ele- 
ments adaptable to episcopal work in the New World. 
However that might have proved in the end, he soon 
took his leave and was never reckoned by the Ameri- 
cans as more than a nominal member of their episco- 
pacy. This left Bishop Asbury alone on the face of 
a continent, and this condition was to be continued for 
sixteen years. The General Conference of 1800 gave 



Writing the Constitution. 75 

him a colleague in the person of Richard Whatcoat, 
who through the feeble six years of his life that re- 
mained proved to his associate more a burden than a 
help. Whatcoat died in the summer of 1806, and at 
that time Bishop Asbury was so feeble as to make it 
seem certain that his end was nigh. In view of this 
distressed state of the episcopacy the New York Con- 
ference, as has already been noted, submitted to the 
other six Conferences for ratification a plan for a dele- 
gated assembly to meet in Baltimore on July 4, 1807, 
"for the express purpose and with full powers to elect, 
organize, and establish a permanent superintendency, 
and for no other purpose." This scheme failed by 
reason of the opposition which it met in the Virginia 
Conference, led by Jesse Lee. It was fortunate for 
Methodism that it failed. 

Defeated in their scheme for a delegated electoral 
assembly, the preachers of the New York Conference 
in 1807 sent around to the Conferences a memorial to 
be presented to the General Conference to meet in the 
succeeding year. The chief purpose and content of the 
document subsist in the following excerpt — viz : "We 
are deeply impressed with a thorough conviction that 
a representative or delegated General Conference com- 
posed of a specific number on principles of equal rep- 
resentation from the several Annual Conferences 
would be much more conducive to the prosperity and 
general unity of the whole body than the present in- 
definite and numerous body of ministers, collected to- 
gether unequally from the various Conferences to the 
great inconvenience of the ministry and injury to the 
work of God. We therefore present unto you this 



y6 Life of Joshua Soule. 

memorial, requesting that you will adopt the princi- 
ple of an equal representation from the Annual Con- 
ferences to form in future a delegated General Confer- 
ence, and that you will establish such rules and regula- 
tions as are necessary to carry the same into effect." 
This memorial was concurred in by the New England, 
the Western, and the South Carolina Conferences. 
The great central Conferences of Baltimore, Philadel- 
phia, and Virginia, whose representatives had domi- 
nated all previous General Conferences, withheld as- 
sent. 

The situation in the General Conference when this 
memorial was presented was this : The memorializing 
Conferences had forty-eight representatives seated in 
the body, while the nonconcurring Conferences had 
eighty-one. The outlook was forbidding and called 
for a brilliant initiative and for genius of leadership. 
Providence had haled the man needed from amongst 
the stuff, but neither he nor the Conference had yet 
been made aware of his selection. 

One strong factor in the situation was the sympathy 
of Bishop Asbury with the constitutionalists. His 
potent shadow fell prophetically athwart the untrod- 
den lists. Jesse Lee was also favorable to the idea of 
a delegated body — in fact, had been the very first to 
suggest it — but he was confused by the long determina- 
tive influence which the Virginians, the Baltimoreans, 
and the Philadelphians had exercised in the affairs of 
Methodism. To voluntarily surrender this primacy 
was no easy matter. 

The General Conference met on May 6, and on May 
9 the New York memorial came up. As a test of the 



Writing the Constitution. 77 

sentiment of the Conference touching the memorial 
Bishop Asbury asked "whether any further regulation 
in the order of the General Conference" should be 
undertaken. The vote, a viva voce response, was in 
the affirmative. Stephen G. Roszel, of the Baltimore 
Conference, moved that a committee to draw up plans 
"for regulating the General Conference" be appointed. 
This motion also prevailed, and Bishop Asbury, al- 
ways alert, and seeing the opportunity of history, 
moved "that the committee be formed of an equal 
number from each Annual Conference." This secured 
a* majority of the committee for the New York me- 
morial. Two representatives from each Conference 
were by motion drafted for the task. The personnel 
of the committee was as follows — viz., Ezekiel Cooper 
and John Wilson from the New York Conference, 
George Pickering and Joshua Soule from the New 
England Conference, William McKendree and Wil- 
liam Burke from the Western Conference, William 
Phcebus and Josiah Randle from the South Carolina 
Conference, Phillip Bruce and Jesse Lee from the Vir- 
ginia Conference, Stephen G. Roszel and Nelson Reed 
from the Baltimore Conference, and John McClasky 
and Thomas Ware from the Philadelphia Conference — 
fourteen in all. 

At its first meeting this committee conversed largely 
on the provisions which the report to the General Con- 
ference should contain. The deliberations issued in 
an agreement to appoint a subcommittee of three to 
draft the report to be submitted to the General Con- 
ference, subject, of course, to modification or emenda- 
tion by the large committee. The subcommittee con- 



78 Life of Joshua Soule. 

sisted of Ezekiel Cooper, Joshua Soule, and Phillip 
Bruce. Dr. Charles Elliott, who has given a full ac- 
count of this part of the proceedings in his life of 
Bishop Roberts, says: "When the subcommittee met, 
it was agreed, after a full exchange of sentiments, that 
each should draw up a separate paper comprising the 
necessary restrictions or regulations in the best way 
he could, and that each should present his form in 
writing, and they would then adopt the one deemed 
best, with such amendments as might be agreed upon." 
When the subcommittee met for the purpose of com- 
paring their plans, it was found that Mr. Bruce had 
written nothing, but that both Mr. Cooper and Mr. 
Soule had brought in carefully drawn plans. After 
examining the two writings, Mr. Bruce fell in with 
the plan of Mr. Soule, suggesting only slight emenda- 
tions. Being overborne in the subcommittee, Cooper 
agreed to the submission of Soule's draft, although, as 
it seems, he claimed the right to submit his own to the 
large committee, and this he did when that commit- 
tee met to receive the subcommittee's report. "With 
some slight modifications," Soule's paper was adopted 
by the large committee, and was then handed to the 
General Conference. In its original form it was as 
follows : 

Whereas it is of the greatest importance that the doctrine, 
form of government, and general rules of the United Societies 
in America be preserved sacred and inviolable ; and whereas 
every prudent measure should be taken to preserve, strengthen, 
and perpetuate the union of the connection ; therefore your 
committee, upon mature deliberation, have thought it advisa- 
■ ble that the third section of the form of Discipline shall be as 
follows — viz. : 



Writing the Constitution. 79 

Section III. 
Of the General Conference. 

1. The General Conference shall be composed of delegates 
from the Annual Conferences. 

2. The delegates shall be chosen by ballot without debate, 
in the Annual Conferences respectively, in the last meeting of 
the Conference previous to the sitting of the General Confer- 
ence. 

3. Each Annual Conference respectively shall have a right 
to send seven elders, members of their Conference, as dele- 
gates to the General Conference. 

4. Each Annual Conference shall have a right to send one 
delegate in addition to the seven for every ten members be- 
longing to such Conference, over and above fifty ; so that if 
there are sixty members they shall send eight ; if seventy, they 
shall send nine, and so on in proportion. 

5. The General Conference shall meet on the first day of 
May, in the year of our Lord 1812 ; and thenceforward on the 
first day of May, once in four years perpetually, at such place 
or places as shall be fixed on by the General Conference from 
time to time. 

6. At all times when the General Conference is met it shall 
take two-thirds of the whole number of delegates to form a 
quorum. 

7. One of the general superintendents shall preside in the 
General Conference; but in case no general superintendent be 
present, the General Conference shall choose a president pro 
tern. 

8. The General Conference shall have full powers to make 
rules, regulations, and canons for our Church under the fol- 
lowing limitations and restrictions — viz. : 

The General Conference shall not revoke, alter, or change 
our articles of religion, nor establish any new standards or 
rules of doctrine contrary to our present existing and estab- 
lished standards of doctrine. 

They shall not lessen the number of seven delegates from 
each Annual Conference nor allow a greater number from 



80 Life of Joshua Souk. 

any Annual Conference than is provided for in the fourth 
paragraph of this section. 

They shall not change or alter any part or rule of our 
government, so as to do away episcopacy, or to destroy the 
plan of our itinerant general superintendency. 

They shall not revoke or change the general rules of the 
United Societies. 

They shall not do away the privilege of our ministers or 
preachers of trial by a committee and of an appeal; neither 
shall they do away the privileges of our members of trial 
before the society or by a committee and of an appeal. 

Neither shall they appropriate the produce of the Book 
Concern or of the Charter Fund to any purpose other than 
for the benefit of the traveling, superannuated, supernumerary, 
and worn-out preachers, their wives, widows, and children. 

Provided, nevertheless, that upon the joint recommendation 
of all the Annual Conferences, then a majority of two-thirds 
of the General Conference succeeding shall suffice to alter 
any of the above restrictions. 

The draft made by Cooper has not been preserved 
to us in its entirety, but it is understood that it dif- 
fered from the plan of Soule chiefly in its treatment 
of the episcopacy. On that point it read: "They (the 
General Conference) shall not do away episcopacy 
nor reduce our ministry to a presbyterial parity." 
Soule's paragraph not only recognized episcopacy as 
a fact, but let the plan of our itinerant general super- 
intendency into the foundations and secured it there 
by a constitutional restriction. 

The report on the Soule resolutions was submitted 
on May 16, seven days after the appointment of the 
committee, and the General Conference proceeded at 
once to the consideration of it. A long debate ensued 
in which Jesse Lee, the original proposer of a dele- 
gated General Conference, opposed the resolutions on 



Writing the Constitution. 81 

the ground of "Conference rights" — that is, the in- 
herited rights of the great Central Conferences or else 
the rights of the body of the older preachers who pre- 
dominated in these Conferences. Probably it was on 
this ground that he "advocated seniority in preference 
to the election of delegates" to the General Confer- 
ence. With this contention he, with others, was able 
to maintain the debate during practically the entire 
day. The debate promised to go on indefinitely; but 
near the close of the afternoon session Ezekiel Cooper 
moved that further consideration of the report be post- 
poned until the Conference should decide another ques- 
tion — namely, whether the Annual Conference should 
elect the presiding elders or whether the bishops should 
under the constitution to be adopted continue to ap- 
point them. 

Cooper, as his proposed constitution showed, treated 
the episcopacy as "an abstraction." The real point of 
his policy, however, looked to the election of seven 
bishops, one for each of the Annual Conferences. 
Four or five days before this date he had offered such 
a motion, only to see it promptly voted down. Now he 
renewed the old clamor — originating with O'Kelly — 
for an elective presiding eldership. It was Soule, as- 
sisted by his associate delegate, George Pickering, who 
defeated Cooper's scheme for seven bishops, which, 
had it carried, would have meant a diocesan episcopacy. 
He now set himself to defeat the scheme for an elective 
presiding eldership. After more than half a day had 
been spent on the Cooper resolution, Soule moved the 
previous question ; but the motion was lost, and the 
debate was prolonged into the morning session of the 
6 



82 Life of Joshua Soule. 

third day. At an opportune moment Soule interposed 
a second time with a motion that the vote be taken, and 
this time his point was gained, when the vote stood 
fifty-two for the election of presiding elders and 
seventy-three against. Thus was this important ques- 
tion settled; and though may efforts have been made 
to change the rule, it has remained intact in the con- 
stitution for one hundred and two years. 

Immediately following the defeat of this measure in 
the General Conference William McKendree, who had 
four days before been elected, was, by Bishop Asbury, 
ordained to the office of a bishop. The defeated 
advocates of an elective presiding eldership stood about 
him while he assumed the solemn and responsible duties 
of a bishop. He was to have them standing about 
him many a day thereafter ; but the young Maine man 
who had that day cleared a way for him to enter his 
office was to remain his helper and abettor through the 
long struggle. 

But notwithstanding this initial success, the adop- 
tion of the constitution was by no means assured. On 
Wednesday afternoon it was moved "that the vote on 
the first resolution of the committee of fourteen be 
taken by ballot." That resolution was : "The General 
Conference shall be composed of delegates from the 
Annual Conferences." When the ballots were counted, 
it was found that the measure was lost by the slender 
majority of seven votes. The result was, however, 
decisive ; the constitution was lost. The consequences 
came near being serious. Great excitement prevailed, 
for the constitutionalists attributed their defeat to the 
three central Conferences, and chiefly to the Balti- 



Writing the Constitution. 83 

more and Philadelphia contingents. "The New En- 
gland delegates asked leave of , absence," says Bishop 
McTyeire, who undoubtedly received this information 
from the lips of Bishop Soule himself. The Western 
delegates threatened to ride away to their circuits, 
while others wept or sat with shadowed faces contem- 
plating what seemed the end of connectional Metho- 
dism. The spirit of Soule was sad, but his lips spake 
no word while he awaited the final outcome. Bishops 
Asbury and McKendree, after much persuasion, pre- 
vailed on the dissatisfied delegates to remain over a 
day to see if an understanding could not be reached. 

After the lapse of four days, on Monday, May 23, 
the vote to fix the time and place of meeting for the 
next General Conference was called. Action on this 
motion was postponed until it could be determined who 
should compose the General Conference. This was a 
motion of virtue by means of which the constitution 
was diplomatically introduced as a new question. 
Enoch George (afterwards bishop), seconded by Ste- 
phen G. Roszel, moved "that the General Confer- 
ence shall be composed of one member for every five 
members of each Annual Conference," and the mo- 
tion carried by a decisive majority. Soule then moved 
that the method of selecting delegates in the Annual 
Conferences should be "either by seniority or choice." 
In this manner he silenced the opposition of Jesse Lee 
and gained in him a powerful ally for the future stages 
of the contest. 

From this point the current of action ran smoothly, 
and with unimportant changes the original draft of 
Soule became by legal indorsement of the General Con- 



g^ Life of Joshua Soule. 

ference the constitution of the Church. For the use 
of the critical reader who may desire to make a com- 
parison of the two forms of this historic document the 
text of the constitution as inserted in the Discipline of 
1808 is here reproduced: 

Ques. 2. Who shall compose the General Conference, and 
what are the regulations and powers belonging to it? 

Ans. 1. The General Conference shall be composed of one 
member for every five members of each Annual Conference, 
to be appointed either by seniority or choice at the discretion 
of such Annual Conference, yet so that such representatives 
shall have traveled at least four full calendar years from the 
time that they are received on trial by an Annual Conference, 
and are in full connection at the time of holding the Con- 
ference. 

2. The General Conference shall meet on the first day of 
May, in the year of our Lord 1812, in the city of New York, 
and thenceforward on the first day of May once in four years 
perpetually in such place or places as shall be fixed on by the 
General Conference from time to time. But the general su- 
perintendents with or by the advice of the Annual Confer- 
ences or, if there be no general superintendent, all the Annual 
Conferences respectively shall have power to call a General 
Conference, if they judge it necessary, at any time. 

3. At all times when the General Conference meet it shall 
take two-thirds of the representatives of all the Annual Con- 
ferences to make a quorum for transacting business. 

4. One of the general superintendents shall preside in the 
General Conference ; but in case no general superintendent be 
present, the General Conference shall choose a president pro 
tempore. 

5. The General Conference shall have full power to make 
rules and regulations for our Church under the following 
limitations and restrictions — viz. : 

1. The General Conference shall not revoke, alter, or 
change our Articles of Religion, nor establish any new stand- 



Writing the Constitution. 85 

ards or rules of doctrine contrary to our present existing and 
established standards of doctrine. 

2. They shall not allow of more than one representative for 
every five members of the Annual Conference, nor allow of a 
less number than one for every seven. 

3. They shall not change or alter any part or rule of our 
government so as to do away episcopacy or destroy the plan 
of our itinerant general superintendency. 

4. They shall not revoke or change the general rules of the 
United Societies. 

5. They shall not do away the privileges of our ministers 
or preachers of trial by committee and of an appeal. Neither 
shall they do away the privileges of our members of trial be- 
fore the society or by a committee and of an appeal. 

6. They shall not appropriate the produce of the Book Con- 
cern nor the chartered fund to any purpose other than for 
the benefit of the traveling, supernumerary, superannuated, and 
worn-out preachers, their wives, widows, and children. 

Provided, nevertheless, that upon the joint recommendation 
of all the Annual Conferences, then a majority of two-thirds 
of the General Conferences succeeding shall suffice to alter 
any of the above restrictions. 

Thus was finished the work destined doubtless to 
stand through centuries and to serve as a bond of the 
most numerous Protestant body in the Western Hemi- 
sphere. Not a few amendments have been made to its 
provisions, but the strong and sinewy language of the 
original writing remains and gains in perspicacity and 
force every year. It can be safely said that no Meth- 
odist in the world ever erected so great a single monu- 
ment to his memory as the constitution has proved to 
the memory of Joshua Soule. Dr. Charles Elliott, who 
' lived in a, time before the full significance of the con- 
stitutional restrictions had appeared to the Church, 
said : "To a very considerable extent we owe to Bishop 



86 Life of Joshua Soule. 

Soule the restrictive regulations — or rather the con- 
stitution of the Methodist Episcopal Church — which 
exhibits a degree of wisdom and prudent foresight that 
characterizes men of the first mental powers. In fact, 
those who know Bishop Soule would expect from him 
the wise deliberation necessary to produce such a 
measure." 

Of Bishop Soule's powers and foresight as they were 
brought to bear on the writing of this document, Bishop 
McTyeire says : "One obvious advantage of Mr. Soule's 
theory will be accepted as an offset to many disadvan- 
tages : it promotes connectionalism. It ties and bands 
the Churches and Conferences together. He succeeded 
in getting adopted the practice and rule which still 
holds in the Church — of being scarce of bishops, mak- 
ing but few and giving them a wide and equal interest 
in all the Conferences and all the Conferences an equal 
interest in them. It was a breadth of mission which 
suited well his own elevated nature and ample powers 
when in time he was called to it." 

As a view of the even broader results and pledges 
of this constitution I may give here the opinion con- 
cerning it expressed by an eminent Wesleyan preacher 
of the last century, the Rev. Dr. Dixon, who visited 
the continent as fraternal messenger from the Wes- 
leyan Conference in 1848. He says: "Here, then, we 
have the Magna Charta of Methodism in the States. 
This document indicates the good sense and the dili- 
gent forethought of those who framed it. We see 
from it that the American Methodists are no revolu- 
tionists, and that they desire to escape such a catas- 
trophe. The legislative power is not at liberty to alter 



Writing the Constitution. 87 

anything deemed fundamental. This limits the func- 
tions of the assembled ministers within what may be 
considered a settled and fully recognized constitution. 
This constitution supposes various points as already 
settled, to which all agree, and which are not to be 
disturbed. The doctrines of the Church are amongst 
these fundamental principles. Here innovation gen- 
erally begins, when Churches decline. The loss of 
vital religion always causes the truths of the evan- 
gelical system to become tasteless. . . . The age 
and circumstances favor this sort of adventurous spirit. 
It must consequently be considered a wise arrange- 
ment, that the great truths of the evangelical system 
embodied in their articles of religion are not to be 
altered." 

At the session of the General Conference of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church held in Baltimore in 
May, 1908, the one hundredth anniversary of the adop- 
tion of the constitution was duly and appropriately 
celebrated. On that occasion Rev. Charles W. Smith, 
D.D., editor of the Pittsburg Christian Advocate, who 
was some days later elected to the episcopacy, read a 
very ably written paper on "The Constitution of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church," in which he used this 
language: "When, therefore, we discuss the constitu- 
tion as it is, we are considering the document substan- 
tially as it came from the hands of its framers. This 
is a remarkable fact, and shows the wisdom and fore- 
sight of the fathers and the conservatism of their 
sons." 

The writer of this biography also had the honor to 
deliver one of the addresses on that historic occasion, 



88 Life of Joshua Soule. 

being the invited representative of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South. He may modestly say that he 
took occasion to exalt the name and memory of that 
one of "the fathers" to whom the chief honor of fram- 
ing the constitution is due. Although this man out 
of whose hands the book of the law departed not was 
a son of the northernmost North of our land, it seemed, 
and was accepted as fitting, because of his happy iden- 
tification with the children of the South, that a South- 
ern Methodist — one from the southernmost South — 
should on that great occasion stand to remind the 
universal house of Episcopal Methodism of ' its in- 
debtedness to him for that bond which has united us 
more than all things else save the grace of God alone. 



CHAPTER VI. 

An Intercalary Period. 

A. surviving member of Bishop Soule's family has 
recalled that in his later years he was accustomed to 
refer with conscious satisfaction to the fact that he 
had preserved nothing which had been written con- 
cerning himself either to his praise or disparagement. 
He discouraged the writing of biographical sketches of 
himself during his lifetime, and the matter for the few 
which were written was evidently furnished by other 
hands than his. I reach this conclusion after having 
examined all such sketches of which I can hear, and 
find them built up around a few identical facts drawn 
from a common repository. At no period of his life 
was he provident of letters or other written documents 
that might have served as side lights on his life story 
or even on the larger history of his times. Perhaps the 
Church in all modern times has not seen a man so 
intrinsically great who was so indifferent to popular 
applause or criticism or who sought less after per- 
sonal glory and fame. 

The secret of the absence from this biography of 
the lighter and perhaps more humanlike details of his 
story is now an open one between me and my readers ; 
but we may mutually congratulate ourselves that the 
great points in the life of this man of deeds are like a 
city set upon a hill which cannot be hid. 

The four years which Soule spent as presiding elder 
of the Portland District, although they brought him 

(89) 



go Life of Joshua Soule. 

fully before the Church and made him the leader and 
lawgiver of Methodism, are almost as nearly record- 
less, so far as concerns the details of his district work, 
as were the years spent on Union River Circuit and 
Nantucket Island. But in studying what has come 
to our knowledge touching those years the man mov- 
ing in the midst of it bulks with the outlines of Saul 
in the shadowy interior of his tent. 

The New England Conference for 1809 met at Mon- 
mouth, Province of Maine, and within the bounds 
of the Portland District. Soule was therefore the 
chief host of the assembly. "We sat closely at work," 
observed Bishop Asbury in his Journal. Bishop Mc- 
Kendree was also present, it being his first visit to 
that quarter of the continent. A significant entry made 
by Asbury in his Journal of even date with the one 
above noted points to the fact that his colleague took 
a prominent part in the administration. McKendree's 
face being new to all the people and to most of the 
preachers, his coming naturally aroused much interest. 
His preaching and presidency greatly impressed the 
Conference and the public. Three thousand people 
were in daily attendance, and eighty itinerants re- 
ported on the work. There were twenty-eight ordina- 
tions to the two orders. 

It was now that Bishop Asbury fully realized the 
vastness and difficulties of the work in upper New En- 
gland, and especially in Maine. It was now also that 
he lamented his lack of knowledge concerning both the 
men and the field. Asbury's superintendency had from 
the beginning been one suggested by a thorough famil- 
iarity with the itinerants and their charges, but his 



An Intercalary Period. 91 

knowledge at last failed to keep pace with the recruited 
ranks or the new reaches across which they moved. 
Bishop McKendree had, however, already brought into 
being the bishop's cabinet — a logical factor in Metho- 
dist polity — and was relying upon the presiding elders 
for a knowledge of the local fields and the men em- 
ployed upon them which, because of the rapid growth 
of the connection, no bishop could acquire. It was 
now that the true and constitutional ideal of the pre- 
siding eldership began to emerge. McKendree was 
the Church statesman who opened to it the door of 
historic and prophetic usefulness. Soule was quick to 
take the statesmanlike view of it. Between him and 
McKendree there existed already a strong personal at- 
tachment. A confidence sprang up and grew steadily 
until it became a passionate friendship. This also was 
of providence, as of the logic of likes, for they twain 
being knit together in unity of purpose were called in 
after years to conduct the affairs of Methodism through 
the most trying stages of its history. "These two," 
says Bishop McTyeire, "stand related as were Elijah 
and Elisha." The mantle of McKendree when he as- 
cended fell upon Soule. 

From 1799, when he was with Timothy Merritt on 
Portland Circuit, to the end of his quadrennium on 
the Portland District — nearly fourteen years — Joshua 
Soule was closely identified with the city of Portland, 
and came to be one of its best-known and most influen- 
tial citizens. During his later lifetime the popular mind 
thought of his New England history only in connec- 
tion with the metropolis of his native State. I have 
the recollection of having consulted at least one cyclo- 



o2 Life of Joshua Soule. 

pedia of biography that gave Portland as the place of 
his birth. The impress of his large-spirited activity 
and sane thinking cannot have wholly passed from the 
life and manners of the place where he so long had 
his home. In the life and thought of that city there is 
to-day much with which the memory of the best and 
proudest might be happily associated. Epictetus asked 
for a city of wise men; but a truer as well as a more 
sympathetic oracle promised not only the salvation but 
the sanctification of a city in which even a leaven of 
righteous men might, peradventure, be found. The 
reputation of the State of Maine for sobriety and high 
ethical ideals may well be the renown of the men who 
digged about the roots of its life when these roots were 
tender and responsive to care. 

There was a fellowship of great spirits in the work 
in this field during this period. Of it Dr. Bangs says: 
"Through the labors of such men as the Rev. Messrs. 
Elijah Hedding, Joshua Soule, Thomas Branch, John 
Brodhead, Elijah R. Sabin, and Oliver Beale, who were 
this year the presiding elders in the New England Con- 
ference, Methodism was gradually and in some places 
powerfully advancing, both in the older and in some 
of the newer settlements. While Thomas Branch was 
leading forward the young men under his care in Ver- 
mont, Elijah Hedding was equally indefatigable in ex- 
ploring the settlements and villages among the hills 
and valleys of New Hampshire ; and the Province of 
Maine was blessed with the labors of Joshua Soule and 
Oliver Beale, whose example in the work committed 
to their care stimulated the preachers on their respec- 
tive districts to activity and diligence." 



An Intercalary Period. 93 

Another historian of Methodism, Dr. Stevens, calls 
attention to the fact that Soule during the time of his 
presidency over the Portland District had under his 
immedate direction such men as Martin Ruter, Epa- 
phras Kibby, Ebenezer Blake, Charles Virgin, Daniel 
Fillmore, Samuel Hillman, "and others of familiar 
name in the New England Churches." These were all 
of one mind. "They had hard struggles, but glorious 
victories in spreading the truth through the wilds of 
Maine." 

Martin Ruter, of honorable mention in the above 
list, had a still more adventurous experience as a mis- 
sionary to the new republic of Texas nearly thirty 
years after this. The decisive battle of San Jacinto, 
fought on April 21, 1836, gave independence and Eng- 
lish ideals to a country which had been Latin both in 
faith and government. The patriots published an in- 
stant welcome to Christian missionaries, and the Meth- 
odists responded without delay. Martin Ruter, then 
President of Alleghany College, was appointed super- 
intendent of the newly planned work, with Littleton 
Fowler and Robert Alexander as assistants. Alexan- 
der and Fowler entered the republic some time in ad- 
vance of their chief,, and began at once to lay the 
foundations of what has become the imperial Metho- 
dism of the State of Texas. Ruter followed some 
months later, preached before the Texas Congress at 
Houston, and after traversing the field planted a num- 
ber of stations advantageously, and also "devised lib- 
eral things for education." Full of enthusiastic faith 
in the future of the work to which he had been called, 
he started in 1829 to meet his family and remove them 



p4 Life of Joshua Soule. 

to the republic, but was seized with a fever while on 
his journey and "made his honored grave in the mis- 
sion field." An educational foundation later known as 
"Martin Ruter College" and still a later known as 
"Soale University," both being in Washington Coun- 
ty, Texas, were the origin of what is now the South- 
western University at Georgetown. Thus has the in- 
tellectual and spiritual fellowship of those two early 
Maine colaborers found an enduring memorial in a 
land and amongst a people of whom neither of them 
at that time so much as dreamed. 

The General Conference of 1812 came on about one 
month before the close of Soule's fourth year on the 
Portland District. At the session of the New England 
Conference held at Barnard, Vermont, in the previous 
year the new order under the constitution was ob- 
served, the legal quota of delegates to sit in the gen- 
eral body being returned. A count of the membership 
of the Conference showed that it was entitled to nine 
representatives. Joshua Soule was the fourth in order 
of those elected. The name of George Pickering led 
the list. This Conference also named certain reserve 
delegates, that the body might suffer no diminish- 
ing of its legal voting or electoral influence through 
the sickness or chance absence of any of its principal 
delegates. The memory of the long preponderance of 
the central Conferences in the general sitting was 
fresh in the minds of the border itinerants. There was 
still a heavy mass of votes in these central Conferences, 
and the old temptation to rule by arithmetic might re- 
turn. The men of the North were resolved to take no 
chance that could be successfully anticipated. It is 



An Intercalary Period. 95 

likely that Pickering and Soule originated this reserve 
list. At any rate, it is to be credited to the New 
England Conference, and quickly became the rule 
throughout the connection, and is now invariably ob- 
served in both branches of the Church. 

The General Conference of 18 12 tested the strength 
of the constitution ; but the fears of many that it might 
develop weak places in that document and issue in con- 
fusion were not realized. Neither were met the ex- 
pectations of others that, in spite of it, the long-dis- 
cussed scheme for an elective presiding eldership would 
be put through. An effort, led by Jesse Lee and Nicho- 
las Snethen, was indeed made to secure the passage 
of such a measure, but it went the way of its predeces- 
sors. Two days were given to the debate — a profitless 
indulgence, for every member of the Conference was 
perfectly familiar from the first with the arguments to 
be set forth, pro and con. The two bishops were 
known to be committed against the measure. They 
looked to Soule, who, impelled by his own knowledge 
of, and his interest in, the constitution, had taken a 
strong position in the negative, though several of his 
Conference colleagues were against him. Knowing 
that the vote would likely fix the issue permanently, 
each side hesitated to take the step of closing; but 
finally the question was put and lost, though not by a 
vote which its advocates were willing to accept as 
finally decisive. The issue, therefore, remained in the 
Church a source of unrest for nearly a score of years 
thereafter. 

In this session of the General Conference Soule was 
made the chairman of a committee appointed to con- 



o6 Life of Joshua Soule. 

sider .that part of Bishop McKendree's address which 
referred to the status and relation of local preachers. 
In the General Conference of 1816 he was intrusted 
with the same chairmanship. The deliberations on this 
matter during those two years resulted in settling the 
office of local preacher in that relation which, with 
slight modifications, it has retained to the present day. 

In the debates on the temperance measures pro- 
posed at this session Soule also took a prominent part 
and assumed an aggressive attitude in the demands 
which he and his protagonists made for stringent meas- 
ures against both people and preachers who distilled 
grain into spirits. It is certain that Neal Dow and his 
fellow-prohibitionists had in him a worthy antecessor. 
Of the part which he took in the burning issue of this 
and the succeeding session — the presiding elder ques- 
tion — it is reserved to us to speak later. 

On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war 
against England. In some quarters of the connection 
the preachers and their flocks were as much distressed 
by this war as their earlier brethren had been by the 
conditions resulting from the war of the Revolution. 
The results were felt chiefly along the Canadian bor- 
der and in the provinces of the Dominion. The cir- 
cuits in that county were cut off from the American 
connection, and during the times of isolation condi- 
tions developed in the societies across the border which 
largely influenced the final separation of the Canadian 
Methodists from their American affiliations. 

Two days after the declaration of hostilities by the 
national government the New England Conference met 
at Lynn, Massachusetts, the city which had served 



An Intercalary Period. 97 

Jesse Lee as a base when he made his first advances, 
in 1795, into the Province of Maine. Particularly 
happy memories of the Methodists clustered around 
this place. The local class or congregation was thrifty 
and large-minded, and from the material side as well 
as for other considerations it was well regarded by the 
preachers as a home. If there were any "high steeple" 
churches in New England at that day, the one at 
Lynn headed the list. 

To the pastorate of this Church Joshua Soule was 
appointed by the Conference to which it had been host. 
A chapel had been begun by the Methodists in Lynn 
as early as 1 791. It was still unfinished during the 
visit of Bishop Asbury to that place the following year, 
but that far-sighted leader was impressed even then 
with the importance of the station as a strategic base. 
Of it he wrote : "I was agreeably surprised to find a 
house raised for the Methodists. As a town I think 
Lynn the perfection of beauty. It is situated on a 
plain under a range of craggy hills and open to the 
sea. There is here a promising society and exceedingly 
well-behaved congregation. . . . Here we shall 
make a firm stand, and from this central point, from 
Lynn, shall the light of Methodism and of truth radiate 
through the State." 

The words of Asbury had been proven prophetic, 
and the chapel built in Lynn under the direction of 
Jesse Lee had housed more than one session of the 
Conference in which bold and successful plans of con- 
quest had been laid. The Church was nearly a quar- 
ter of a century old. The congregation had steadily 
grown in numbers and importance, and was now to be 
7 



98 Life of Joshua Soule. 

served by the most renowned preacher in New England 
and one toward whom the eyes of all Methodism were 
turning. A scheme was at once put on foot for build- 
ing a new house of worship, one that would in some 
measure express the stage of growth and importance 
to which the congregation had attained. This enter- 
prise was carried forward to success by Soule, and on 
the 3d of June, 1813, he preached the dedicatory ser- 
mon. 

We have no description of this house and no cer- 
tain means of determining whether or not it might 
have been tabooed by Bishop Asbury for its excessive 
fineness. In this very year, while on his journey 
through New England, he wrote: "O rare steeple 
houses, bells (organs by and by) ! These things are 
against me and contrary to the simplicity of Christ. 
We have made a stand in the New England Confer- 
ence against steeples and pews, and shall possibly give 
up the houses unless the pews are taken out and the 
houses made sure to us exclusively." What if that 
holy man could walk through his diocese to-day ! 

It was during this year, and only two days before 
the dedication of the church at Lynn, that an event 
occurred which deeply stirred the spirit of Soule and 
served to revive mightily his sea king instincts. The 
naval war with Great Britain had reached its height, 
and a series of tragic events were taking place along 
the northeastern Atlantic Coast. Capt. James Law- 
rence, who late in the month of May had achieved a 
brilliant victory over the British in the capture of the 
ship of war Hornet, was given command of the fine 
frigate Chesapeake and ordered to cruise in the neigh- 



An Intercalary Period. 99 

borhood of Boston. On June 1 he fell in with the 
British frigate Shannon off Nahant, where occurred 
the memorable sea fight in which the gallant Lawrence 
lost both his ship and his life. From the coast of High 
Rock Joshua Soule witnessed the engagement. While 
the dying Lawrence, prostrate on the deck of his ves- 
sel, was crying, "Don't give up the ship ; fight her till 
she sinks/" the high-browed offspring of ancient sea 
kings was exclaiming: "I would give my right arm 
rather than that flag should come down." Now it 
happened that Soule and Lawrence were of one age, 
both having been born in the year 1781. But for the 
providence which thirty years before shifted the home 
of the Soules from the Bristol coast of Maine to Sandy 
River Valley, the man on the top of High Rock might 
have been the dying master of the shattered ship in 
the offing ! 

After only one year in the pastorate, Soule was again 
called to the presiding eldership and back to the Ken- 
nebec District, his old-time diocese. Bidding farewell 
to his pleasant surroundings at Lynn, he faced about 
and returned to ride again in month-long absences 
from his family, but to know, as before, a compensa- 
tion of joy in service and sacrifice. 

In 1806, when he was first appointed to this district, 
it contained nine circuits. Now the list showed eleven, 
and they averaged for each an extent of territory much 
greater than that which falls to the typical modern 
district. In this field he was to spend three years, and 
thus fill up an intercalary period, the years which fell 
between his writing of the constitution, the point of the 
outgoing of his name to be immortal, and the hour of 



ioo Life of Joshua Soule. 

his call to leave for good his provincial sphere and 
enter upon the stages of an ever-widening service to 
connectional Methodism. 

On December 24, 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was 
signed which ended the war between America and 
Britain, though the memorable battle of New Orleans, 
because of a lack of means of rapid communication, 
was fought twenty-one days later. 

With the year 181 5 began the new era of American 
national greatness. Methodism, with the other larger 
moral forces of the land, felt the impulse of the new 
life and prepared to enter the widening doors of op- 
portunity. 

But a shadow now fell, lengthening and deepening, 
over the house of the people called Methodists. Fran- 
cis Asbury, the patriarch and leader, the tenderly be- 
loved and revered bishop of Methodism, was dying. 
All his sons saw this and looked with tearful rever- 
ence upon his pale features and tottering form. In 
July of this year he visited for the last time the New 
England Conference. He was unable to preside, but 
laid hands upon the heads of those who were to be sent 
forth to teach the Word and premonish. Sad fare- 
wells were taken of him by those who should see his 
face no more. 

At this session delegates were chosen to sit in the 
General Conference to meet in the city of Baltimore 
on the 1st of May in the coming year. The delega- 
tion was led by George Pickering and Joshua Soule, 
in the order named. This was Soule's last year in 
New England. At the General Conference he stood 
forth in the great controversy which marked the ses- 



An Intercalary Period. 101 

sion as the defender of what had been made the funda- 
mental law of the Church. By reason of the effective 
way in which he bore himself and expounded his views 
he filled the whole eye of his brethren, and was in their 
thoughts separated to the destinies and service of their 
larger history. Upon the first stages of the story of 
that service we are now about to enter. 



CHAPTER VII. 
Counseling the Rulers. 

The question of the presiding eldership in its rela- 
tions to the episcopacy was one with which the name 
of Joshua Soule became closely associated during a 
period of nearly or quite twenty years — the period of 
its discussion and final settlement. Therefore it seems 
well to give an entire section of this work to a con- 
sideration of it and of the extent to which the bishops 
and other leaders of the connection looked to Soule 
for counsel and help in maintaining the constitutional 
view of the office as also that of the office of the epis- 
copacy. 

The presiding eldership is the gauge of the itinerancy 
which is itself the pivot wheel of operative Methodism. 
It is an 'integrant of the Wesleyan episcopacy and a 
complementing function of its administration. The 
Wesleyan general superintendency and the presiding 
eldership originated in the selfsame act of paternal 
selection, and were commissioned in complementing 
offices of consecration. When Mr. Wesley named 
Thomas Coke to be general superintendent of the 
Church soon to be organized in North America, he also 
named Richard Whatcoat and Thomas Vasey to be 
elders assistant to him and his colleague, also pa- 
ternally selected. When Wesley and Creighton con- 
secrated Coke to the general superintendency, they also 
consecrated Whatcoat and Vasey to the presbyterate. 
When the General Conference of 1784, acting on its 
(102) 



Counseling the Rulers. 103 

own account, elected Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury 
to the general superintendency and thus ordered As- 
bury's consecration to that office, it also elected twelve 
of the preachers — the whole body being unordained — 
to the eldership, that they might "visit the Quarterly 
Conferences and administer the ordinances." The sig- 
nificance of the relations thus established between the 
general superintendency and the presiding eldership 
was not fully appreciated in the beginning ; but history 
has abundantly emphasized the providence which or- 
dered the interdependence of the two as complementing 
functions of the episcopacy. The office of elder, even 
from New Testament times, has carried with it the 
idea of pastoral authority. The general superintendent 
is but an elder clothed with the larger administrative 
powers of the eldership delegated from the general 
body of the order. The presiding elder is a presbyter 
who serves as an official nexus between the general 
superintendency and a given group of itinerants. This 
was implied in Mr. Wesley's appointment of What- 
coat and Vasey. It was also implied in the election of 
the limited number of twelve elders by the Christmas 
Conference, for it will not be contended that these 
twelve were the only men in the Conference worthy of 
ordination. Later ordination to both the diaconate and 
the presbyterate came as the result of graduation. But 
at first the General Conference dealt with the presid- 
ing elder and not with the presbyterate in its normal 
relation. 

The General Conference did not create the general 
superintendency, nor yet the presiding eldership. Both 
were accepted as expedients brought forward by those 



104 Life of Joshua Soule. 

providential conditions which preceded and abetted the 
organization of ecclesiastical Methodism. But a char- 
ter of these offices being at length written into the con- 
stitution of Methodism, they took on, and still retain, 
the character of fundamentals. 

Bishop Soule, the author of the constitution, became 
the champion and expounder of the doctrine of the 
episcopacy construed as involving the unity of the gen- 
eral superintendency and the presiding eldership. He 
held with conviction and clearness of statement the 
view that if the presiding eldership — after the selection 
of its incumbent had advisedly and constitutionally 
been made a duty of the general superintendency — 
were made elective by the Annual Conference the con- 
stitutional ideal and effectiveness of the episcopacy 
would disappear. For though the General Conference 
did elect the first presiding elders, it was only to legally 
institute the system. Half the force of the vote ap- 
plied to their election to orders, which latter preroga- 
tive thereafter passed to the Annual Conference, and 
the power expressed in the former was never again 
invoked. Moreover, the general superintendents, even 
in that first instance, appointed the "president elders," 
as they were then called, to their places as heads of 
groups of circuits. 

The presiding eldership represents, on the one side, 
the body of the itinerancy, and on the other the re- 
sponsible general superintendency. For their part the 
itinerants have the election of the presbyter to his func- 
tions, while for its part the general superintendency has 
the naming of the officer who is to bring that part of 
the itinerancy which he represents into the episcopal 



Counseling the Rulers. 105 

counsels. The general superintendency does not in 
itself complete the ideal of the episcopacy, but that 
ideal is completed in conjunction with the constitu- 
tionally created presiding eldership/ 

No question in Methodism has had a history of more 
constant controversy than has that of the presiding 
eldership. In the beginning of Methodism Mr. Wesley 
appointed his preachers and helpers to labor at those 
times and in those places which his Christian judgment 
determined to be best and most to the advantage of the 
kingdom of Christ. This authority he gave to his gen- 
eral assistants in America, to Boardman, to Rankin, 
and to Asbury. The same authority passed to the gen- 
eral superintendents, or bishops, ordained by him and 
commissioned under his letters. The Christmas Con- 
ference confirmed this authority and fixed it in a 
formal question and answer which were printed in the 
first Discipline of the Church as follows — viz. : "Ques- 
tion, What is the duty of a bishop ? Answer : To pre- 
side as moderator in our Conferences, to fix the ap- 
pointments of the preachers for the several circuits, 
etc." That under the rule this authority extended to 
the appointment of presiding elders there was never 
any question. Nor was there any issue made on the 
general policy of putting the power of appointment in 
the hands of the episcopacy until the meeting of the 
second General Conference, in 1792. At that sitting 
James O'Kelly introduced the following resolution — 
to wit : 

Resolved, That after the bishop appoints the preachers at 
the Conference to their several circuits, if any one think him- 
self injured by the appointment, he shall have liberty to ap- 



106 Life of Joshua Soule. 

peal to the Conference and state his objections; and if the 
Conference approve of his objections, the bishop shall appoint 
him to another circuit. 

After a debate of three days, and one exhaustive of 
every content of the measure, it was lost by a decisive 
majority. The defeat of his scheme so dissatisfied 
O'Kelly that he immediately withdrew from the Con- 
ference, and soon afterwards set up the Church of the 
"O'Kellyites," or Republican Methodists. 

A decisive vote of confidence being thus early given 
the episcopacy, the ghost of autocracy remained laid 
for nearly a decade. Strangely enough, the next ap- 
pearance of it was with Dr. Coke as sponsor. At 
the General Conference of 1800, when it became clear 
that a third bishop would be elected, possessing him- 
self a strong bias for the new Wesleyan method of ap- 
pointment, Bishop Coke brought in the following 
recommendation — viz. : "The new bishop, whenever he 
presides in an Annual Conference in the absence of 
Bishop Asbury, shall bring the stations of the preachers 
into the Conference and read them that he may hear 
what the Conference has to say upon each station." 

After a brief consultation, this motion was with- 
drawn by the mover. Shortly after the withdrawal of 
the recommendation another was submitted to the ef- 
fect that the Conference appoint a committee of three 
or four to assist the new bishop "in stationing the 
preachers." In this suggestion the "bishop's cabinet" 
was distinctly prophesied; but being haled from the 
wrong angle, it also was rejected. The early history 
of the presiding eldership describes a case of arrested 
development. It came into shape slowly, but a law of 



Counseling the Rulers. 107 

logic and providence prevented it from getting into in- 
effective relations with the general superintendency, 
whose nascence was its own. 

The next stage of this controversy we have already 
described in the story of the adoption of the constitu- 
tion in 1808. It will be recalled that the presiding elder 
question emerged at the moment that instrument was 
being put before the General Conference for its con- 
sideration and indorsement. The vote was adverse, 
but the verdict against an elective presiding eldership 
did not prevent the advocates of the measure from 
bringing it forward again in 1812. The majority regis- 
tered against it at this latter sitting was so slender as 
to raise the belief that it would carry in the General 
Conference of 1816. The contest was therefore re- 
newed at that sitting with great determination, and 
this brings us up to the date at which the course of 
this biography has arrived. 

The second delegated General Conference convened 
in Baltimore, Maryland, May 11, 1816. A shadow of 
melancholy rested on the opening scenes because of the 
death of Bishop Asbury, which event had occurred but 
one month before. After the lapse of a week, how- 
ever, the contest on "the main question" was opened. 
On Tuesday, May 7, Samuel Merwin, of the New York 
Conference, moved that in answer to the question, 
"How shall the presiding elders be chosen and ap- 
pointed?" the Discipline should read: "At an early 
period in each Annual Conference the bishop shall 
nominate a person for each district that is to be sup- 
plied, and the Conference shall without debate pro- 
ceed in the choice, the person nominated being absent ; 



108 Life of Joshua Soule. 

and if the person nominated be not chosen according 
to nomination, the bishop shall nominate two others, 
one of whom it shall be the duty of the Conference to 
choose." And in answer to the question, "By whom 
shall the preachers be appointed to their stations?" 
Merwin moved that the answer should read: "By the 
bishop with the advice and counsel of the presiding 
elders." The Conference after sitting at intervals dur- 
ing three days as a committee of the whole on this 
matter had reached no conclusion when Nathan Bangs 
proposed an amendment, which was accepted by Mer- 
win. The Bangs amendment was as follows : "The 
bishop at an early period of the Annual Conference 
shall nominate an elder for each district, and the Con- 
ference shall without debate either confirm or reject 
such nomination. If the person or persons so nomi- 
nated be not elected by the Conference, the bishop 
shall nominate two others for each vacant district, one 
of whom shall be chosen. And the presiding elder 
so elected and appointed shall remain in office four 
years, unless dismissed by the mutual consent of the 
bishop and Conference; but no presiding elder shall 
be removed from office during the term of four years 
unless the reasons for such removal be stated to him 
in the presence of the Conference, which shall decide 
without debate on his case." 

After a further spirited discussion, the amendment 
was put to the house and lost, as was also the main 
question. But the hope was still strong that at a fu- 
ture day (and, as it proved, at the next General Con- 
ference) the issue could be successfully revived. To 
provide for the realization of this hope the friends of 



Counseling the Rulers. 109 

the defeated measure proposed at a later stage of the 
session this unusual pronouncement — namely: "Re- 
solved that the motion relative to the election and 
appointment of presiding elders is not contrary to the 
constitution of our Church." The Conference disal- 
lowed the judgment ; but as the result did not amount 
to either a constitutional amendment or a supreme 
court decision, the question remained an open one. 

Concerning the determinative influences in the de- 
bates and the leadership of this question, Bishop Mc- 
Tyeire, who knew this history both from the record 
and from a close and confidential intimacy with Bish- 
op Soule, has put American Methodism in posses- 
sion of information that otherwise might have been 
lost. In his address delivered at the funeral of Bish- 
op Soule he says : "Mr. Soule's theory was that the 
presiding elders were in their executive character the 
officers and vicegerents of the bishop, and the bishop 
must have the untrammeled selection of his staff. As 
preachers our itinerant system could no more al- 
low the Annual Conference to give the presiding eld- 
ers their appointed fields of labor than to the cir- 
cuit preachers theirs. Under such administration he 
held that the episcopacy and the itinerancy would both 
break down. Good and great men were on the other 
side — Hedding and Waugh (afterwards bishops) and 
others. Bishop Roberts was understood to favor their 
views." 

Out of the fullness of his knowledge gained through 
the superior opportunity furnished by his relation to 
the leader and chief actor in this history, Bishop 
McTyeire adds: "In 181 6 Mr. Soule took a prom- 



no Life of Joshua Soule. 

inent part in the discussion. The friends of this spe- 
cious measure happily did not succeed, and to him is 
attributed its defeat. Bishop McKendree looked to 
him, and now leaned on him to uphold his constitution- 
al, conservative policy." 

The greatness and value of Mr. Soule's service to 
the Church and its leaders in this matter are by no 
means described in the story of his connection with the 
debates and actions of the General Conference of 1816. 
From this time on, until after his second election to the 
episcopacy, he stood in the front of the contest for the 
vindication of the constitution. Indeed, the lists were 
constantly opening to him well nigh to the close of his 
heroic and illustrious life ; but we shall trace each stage 
jn its chronological order. 

-. In the strenuous session of 1816 Soule was made 
chairman of the Committee of Safety. The duty of 
this committee, which consisted of three members, was 
to take into consideration that part of Bishop McKen- 
dree's address which referred to the state of the 
Church, the doctrinal soundness of the preaching being 
done in the connection, and the administration of 
Church discipline. The text of the report of this com- 
mittee may be found printed in many American Meth- 
odist histories, copied from the General Conference 
Journal. But I have in my possession at this writing 
what I take to be one of the two or three original copies 
of that report made at the time of the committee's 
sitting or very soon thereafter. It is dated 1816, and 
is in Bishop Soule's handwriting and signed by his 
own hand as chairman. The manuscript contains 
twenty-four pages, and, in addition to the report of the 



Counseling the Rulers. hi 

Committee of Safety, contains the report of the Com- 
mittee on Episcopacy, also in Soule's handwriting. 
The same is true of a copy of the address of the Gen- 
eral Conference to the London Missionary Society 
touching the differences which had arisen between the 
American and English Conferences in regard to the 
stations in Canada. Three forms for title deeds or 
indentures to secure the hold of Church property also 
appear in the manuscript. One of these is nearly iden- 
tical with the form appearing in the Discipline securing 
titles to "The Methodist Episcopal Church in the 
United States of America ;" while one of the others is 
a deed drawn for special use in the State of Maryland, 
where, as it would seem, there were peculiarities of 
statute ; while the third was drawn as a guide to those 
who sought to make bequests of property for Church 
uses. The indentures are each in a different hand, in 
each case evidently by a professional copyist who neatly 
and carefully transcribed from an original. 

The interest in this paper, altogether aside from its 
antiquity, is the light which it throws on the ministry 
and catholic thoughtedness of the provincial presiding 
elder. An official visitor in a city in which he was 
nearly a stranger, he found time to consult attorneys 
and recorders and make or have made copies of safe 
and convenient property deeds, and not only to neatly 
duplicate the report of his own committee but those of 
others also. To say what share he had, if any, in shap- 
ing these other reports could of course be only con- 
jecture. The suggestion is not ventured that his advice 
was even sought by the heads of other committees ; but 



112 Life of Joshua Soule. 

from what we know of the estimation in which he was 
held by all it is not the least unlikely that he was in 
their confidence while they worked ; and this manu- 
script, could it speak other words than those written 
upon it, might tell us an interesting story. How it, 
with a few other precious fragments, escaped the gen- 
eral destruction of the Bishop's papers cannot now be 
explained. It has come down in a rare and priceless 
collection of autograph letters and original official 
writings dating back to Asbury. The history of the 
preservation and uses of these papers is itself an in- 
teresting one. The original nucleus passed from As- 
bury to McKendree probably a few months before the 
death of the former, in 1816. The depository of this 
nucleus during the remaining years of McKendree's 
life seems to have been the home of his brother, Dr. 
James McKendree, in Sumner County, Tennessee. Aft- 
er the death of Bishop McKendree, in 1835, the original 
papers, with many additions, passed to the hands of 
Bishop Soule, who was to McKendree another self, as 
McKendree had been to Asbury. Bishop Soule, as we 
have seen, was improvident of records, especially such 
as bore on his own life and work, yet the papers in- 
herited from his senior in office were carefully pre- 
served. To these papers Bishop Paine had access while 
writing the "Life of McKendree." After the death of 
Bishop Soule, the accumulation passed to Bishop Mc- 
Tyeire, who drew heavily upon it in writing his "His- 
tory of Methodism." The various records included 
in it were also consulted by Dr. A. H. Redford in 
writing his "Organization of the Methodist Episcopal 



Counseling the Rulers. 113 

Church, South." From Bishop McTyeire to Bishop 
Tigert this all but "Nibelungen hoard" descended, and 
information was extracted from it by the latter in the 
preparation of his "Constitutional History of Metho- 
dism." I have had the good fortune to have this en- 
tire collection in my possession while writing the mem- 
oirs of Bishops Asbury and Soule. 
8 



CHAPTER VIII. 
A Manifold Stewardship. 

The minute in the Journal of the General Confer- 
ence of 1816 devoted to reporting the electoral vote 
has a familiar and modern look. It informs us that 
Enoch George and Robert Richford Roberts were 
elected Bishops and that Joshua Soule was elected 
Book Steward (publishing agent and editor of the 
Methodist Magazine), with Thomas Mason as assistant. 
From this time forward the connectional elections be- 
come a center of interest and forelooking in the Gen- 
eral Conference. How much the purely electoral senti- 
ment has influenced the fortunes of the Wesleyan move- 
ment in America it would of course be impossible to 
say; but that it has been a constant attrition few, if any, 
will undertake to deny. It is safe, however, to say 
that no other ecclesiastical system has developed at this 
point less friction as well as less of the spirit of selfish- 
ness. It is known that Soule did not desire the port- 
folio to which he was elected. Describing it as a semi- 
secular position, he had contended for the election of 
a layman. In the General Conference of 1808 he had 
moved to modify the section in the Discipline on "The 
Book Concern," and had advocated the policy of letting 
the whole work of the Church's publications out on 
contract, a plan which has received much consideration 
in modern Methodist assemblies. 

At that date the publishing agency was verily no 
sinecure, nor a post to be coveted either for its distinc- 
("4) 



A Manifold Stewardship. 115 

tion or its emoluments. The prestige of the office is 
a modern accretion. The incumbency of it then meant 
drudgery, harassing cares in carrying a budget behind 
which was no exchequer, and feeling one's way in the 
dark as to a policy. But being drafted by the suffrages 
of his brethren, Soule addressed himself to his difficult 
task with what success we shall see when our story 
reaches that particular stage in its telling. 

The history of the publishing enterprises of Amer- 
ican Methodism reads like a romance. The Methodist 
press has ever been a source of power next to the Meth- 
odist pulpit. It was so in England, but the fact has 
had emphasis in America. A Wesleyan minister visit- 
ing the American connections near the middle of the 
last century set forth his observations concerning the 
American Methodist press in these words : "Its radia- 
tions of light reach through thousands of miles to the 
remotest extremities of the Union ; its voice of exhorta- 
tion, of admonition, of reproof, of warning is heard in 
the wilderness, the village, the city of every part of the 
continent; its lifelike electrical fire is fusing itself into 
the masses of the population." And yet these vast con- 
cerns, carried on through the many publishing houses 
of the different branches of Methodism, had their 
origin in simple and economical devices. 

Robert Williams, a local Wesleyan preacher, who 
came to America in 1769, only three years after 
Embury opened services in the old sail loft in New 
York, published the first books credited to the Metho- 
dists in the New World. The first American Confer- 
ence, held in Philadelphia in 1773, ordered that no 
books should be published in the name of the Metho- 



u6 Life of Joshua Soule. 

dists without official consent. From that date to 1789 
not a few imprints, including editions of the Discipline, 
minutes, hymnals, and ' other official books, were or- 
dered by the Conference. It was, however, not until 
the latter year that the yearly Conference determined 
to establish an official printing interest. This interest 
was known as "The Book Concern," a title which did 
not appear in the Conference minutes until the year 
1792. To John Dickins, a native of England, the most 
literary man amongst the early preachers and other- 
wise capable, the work was committed. He was the 
stationed preacher in Philadelphia, a work heavy 
enough for one man. But he accepted the additional 
duties of Book Steward, and, willing soul that he was, 
served in that post also and without additional com- 
pensation. The "Book Rooms" were a chamber in his 
parsonage, which was itself "a hired house." He 
loaned the institution $600 of his private means, and 
that was the capital upon which it began its so great 
and destiny-making task. For ten years Dickins de- 
voted himself to his duties and saw "one hundred and 
fourteen thousand volumes of books" go out from the 
presses which he hired to do his work. During his 
incumbency the Book Concern owned no presses and 
had no offices or storehouse, and he, with little as- 
sistance, did all the work of every character which the 
post demanded. A scourge of yellow fever visited 
Philadelphia in the late summer and autumn of 1799, 
and the faithful Dickins was claimed as one of its 
victims. Ezekiel Cooper succeeded and continued in 
office until 1808. The General Conference of 1804 
removed the offices from Philadelphia to New York, 



A Manifold Stewardship. 117 

where one of the chief publishing plants of Methodism 
has since existed. The business greatly expanded 
under the agency of Cooper; and when he retired, in 
1808, the capital invested was nearly fifty thousand 
dollars. Cooper was succeeded by John Wilson, who 
for the four previous years had been his assistant. 
Wilson, who had fine gifts and possessed a considerable 
degree of culture, died in 1810, and was succeeded by 
Daniel Hitt, a close friend and associate of Bishop As- 
bury's. He with Thomas Ware continued the work 
up to the General Conference of 1816, when, as already 
noted, Joshua Soule was called to take up the enter- 
prise, which, though it had enjoyed no little prosperity, 
was now arrived at a stage where great skill and heroic 
faith must be used to bring it through depressing con- 
ditions. The Concern needed funds, its stock was old 
and all but valueless., a money crisis was on in the com- 
mercial world, and the paper of the Book Steward 
could not be discounted in New York. Again Soule 
showed himself the man of providence. He placed a 
large loan in a bank in Baltimore, two personal friends 
indorsing for him, and, opening up new books, he pro- 
ceeded to 1 rejuvenate the Concern. The era of modern 
Methodist printing and publishing begins with his ad- 
ministration. He carried the work up to 1820, and 
passed to the hands of Nathan Bangs the well-realized 
beginnings of that arm of Methodist service which, as 
we have seen, was one of its chief means of propaga- 
tion during the nineteenth century. 

Methodism early felt the need of a periodical publi- 
cation. The uses of the modern Church newspaper 
were of course unknown in the early decades of the 



Ii8 Life of Joshua Soule. 

nineteenth century, but the demand for a doctrinal 
forum was great. One of the earliest tasks of John 
Dickins was to reissue the Armiirian Methodist Mag- 
azine, printed under the direction of the Wesleyan 
Conference in England. Two volumes — 1789 and 
1790 — were issued when the enterprise failed for lack 
of support. Seven years later the Methodist Maga- 
zine, itself in part a reprint, was undertaken, but 
after the issuance of two volumes — 1797 an d 1798 — it 
also was discontinued. The General Conference of 
1812 ordered the publication of the suspended period- 
ical to be resumed, but the finances of the Concern at 
that time did not admit of the necessary outlay, a con- 
dition which continued through the quadrennium. The 
order was therefore renewed in 1816, but it was Jan- 
uary, 1818, before the initial number appeared. With 
the first issue of this magazine the history of our pe- 
riodical literature properly begins. 

The Methodist Magazine contained forty octavo 
pages, and such was the enthusiasm with which the 
sample edition was received that within a brief time 
the circulation had reached ten thousand copies. In 
beginning this enterprise Soule felt the embarrass- 
ment natural to one entering upon a new and difficult 
role. From the view-point of the present, it is all but 
impossible to understand the situation which confronted 
the editor. There were but few precedents for such a 
publication, and the ideals were uncertain and baffling. 
Dr. Bangs, the historian, says of this : "As the issuing 
of this work was entering on an untrodden path by 
those who were to guide its course and watch over 
its destinies, it is no wonder that its editor, Rev. Josh- 



A Manifold Stezvardship. ng 

ua Soule, felt some anxiety for its success and a trem- 
bling sense of the responsibility he was about to as- 
sume." In his salutatory, or introduction, Soule said : 
"In publishing this periodical miscellany the editors 
feel all those sensibilities which arise from a convic- 
tion that its merits are to be tested under the inspection 
of an enlightened community. . . . The great de- 
sign of this publication is to circulate religious knowl- 
edge, a design which embraces the highest interests of 
rational existence." 

The drudgery of the publishing agency consumed 
his hours of daylight, so that he was reduced to the 
necessity of giving what time he could' after the hour 
of 9 p.m. to editorial work, particularly that of pre- 
paring and selecting matter for the pages of the maga- 
zine. It was this necessity of turning the hours of 
night to redactorial account that led him to describe 
the contents of his journal as "the work of darkness." 
The literature embalmed in the dim pages of the few 
sets of the magazine now extant might not stand under 
the severest tests of criticism, but it voiced the serious 
and dignified thought, as also the evangelical spirit, of 
a people to whom was given a major amount of the 
responsibility in shaping the destinies of their times. 
But whatever the present might be disposed to say in 
praise or disparagement, it is of record that "contempo- 
rary authority spake in high terms of the editorial man- 
agement of the magazine in its first years" (the years 
of Soule's editorship). 

The first volume of the original print of the maga- 
zine with Editor Soule's introduction is before me. The 
general mechanical appearance is pleasing, and credit- 



120 Life of Joshua Soule. 

able to the printer, the arrangement and the char- 
acter of the matter suggesting painstaking care and 
dignity of purpose in the editor. As would be natu- 
rally expected, the discussions are for the most part 
theologically and philosophically discursive. Snatches 
of biography and poetry enliven the pages. A good 
steel engraving of Bishop Asbury serves as frontis- 
piece. 

The American Bible Society, whose history and ex- 
ploits in circulating the Holy Scriptures "without 
note or comment" have filled a century with glory, 
was organized in May, 1816. It was the chance and 
distinction of a lifetime to have had part in the work 
of setting that enterprise on its way. This chance and 
distinction fell to Joshua Soule, who, as the Publish- 
ing Agent of Methodism, became its representative in 
counseling the Society and assisting in the planning 
of its affairs. He saw it spring and grow and be- 
come a fruitful ministry in the whole earth. To his 
very latest years he was constantly cheered by the 
memory of that service which he, with others, had 
been permitted to render to his own century and, as 
he rightly esteemed it, to centuries beyond his own. 
Bishop McTyeire, who knew his thoughts in this as 
in other matters, says: "It was ever a satisfaction to 
him to reflect that his hand had been on the corner 
stone of that great Christian institution." 

Only less important and noteworthy, because the 
application of the benefits of the organization have 
been only less general, was the part which he took in 
the organization of the Missionary Society of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. The year 1819 is dis- 



A Manifold Stewardship. 121 

tinguished in Methodist annals as the year of the 
origination of this society. From the beginning of 
Methodism in England its spirit had been missionary, 
and the American societies had been very largely the 
product of that spirit. The plans and policies of As- 
bury were distinctly missionary, and the thought, if 
not the details, of a compact and well-financed scheme 
for foreign evangelism was in the mind of that re- 
sourceful man for a decade or more before his death. 
It was over his freshly-made grave that his long-cher- 
ished thought began to take shape and grow into ef- 
fective plans. Dr. Bangs, in his "History of Metho- 
dism," says: "This subject became the topic of conver- 
sation among several individuals in the city of New 
York in the beginning of this year (1819), some for 
and some against the measure. At length, at a meet- 
ing of the preachers stationed in New York and the 
Book Agents, Rev. Laban Clark presented a resolu- 
tion in favor of forming a Bible and Missionary So- 
ciety of the Methodist Episcopal Church. At this 
time the following preachers were present — namely, 
Freeborn Garrettson, Joshua Soule, Samuel Merwin, 
Nathan Bangs, Laban Clark, Thomas Mason, Seth 
Crowell, Samuel Howe, and Thomas Thorp. After 
a free interchange of thoughts on the subject, the res- 
olution was adopted, and Freeborn Garrettson, Laban 
Clark, and Nathan Bangs were appointed a committee 
to prepare a constitution to be submitted at a subse- 
quent meeting of the above-mentioned preachers. 
This committee on coming together agreed that each 
member should draft a constitution, and at a subse- 
quent meeting the one should be adopted which might 



122 Life of Joshua Soule. 

appear the most suitable. On comparing these drafts, 
the one prepared by the present writer (Nathan 
Bangs) was preferred, and at a full meeting of the 
preachers before mentioned, after undergoing some 
verbal alterations, was unanimously concurred in and 
ordered to be submitted to a public meeting of the 
members and friends of the Church who might choose 
to attend the call in the Forsyth Street Church on the 
evening of April 5, 18 19. This was accordingly done, 
when Nathan Bangs was called to the chair. Ad- 
dresses were delivered by the Chair, by Freeborn Gar- 
rettson, Joshua Soule, and some others, when, on mo- 
tion of Joshua Soule, seconded by Freeborn Garrett- 
son, the constitution which had been prepared was 
adopted." 

The organization of the society was then com- 
pleted by the election of a complement of administra- 
tive officers, Bishop William McKendree being named 
President and Rev. Joshua Soule Treasurer. 

From this time forward Soule gave close and con- 
stant attention, as he could command time from his 
other arduous duties, to the financial well-being of 
the missionary society, and was largely instrumental 
in bringing it forward for recognition in the General 
Conference of 1820. 

The request made of the general body to adopt the 
purely local missionary society organized in New 
York City was cordially entertained and granted, 
though a similar request came from a society of the 
same character organized within the bounds of the 
Philadelphia Conference. But in adopting the consti- 
tution of the New York organization a significant 



A Manifold Stewardship. 123 

emendation of the name of the society was ordered to 
be made. The constitution of the society organized in 
1819 carried in its first article this form of statement 
— namely, "This association shall be denominated the 
Missionary and Bible Society of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church in America." Under this name a gen- 
eral address was sent out to the people of Methodism 
and a special circular was addressed to the several 
Annual Conferences. But when the constitution came 
before the General Conference that body, on the rec- 
ommendation of the society itself, struck out the word 
"Bible," because "The American Bible Society," which 
was now in successful operation, was fully adequate 
to the task of supplying the community with the sa- 
cred Scriptures. The words "in America" were also 
stricken out by order of the Conference, without re- 
quest from the society, as it appears, leaving the title 
to read simply "The Missionary Society of the Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church." Dr. Bangs says that the 
reason for striking out the words "in America" was 
that they were "unnecessary to designate the character 
of the society, there being no other missionary society 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church in existence." 

Were there no other history touching the words 
"in America" in the name of the Church, we could ac- 
cept the conclusion of Dr. Bangs as final; but there 
are other and significant records to which we shall 
now call attention. To be both frank and explicit, it 
is my purpose to show that the original name of the 
Church, "The Methodist Episcopal Church in Amer- 
ica," which was in constant official and current use 
from 1784 to 1796 and later, was by sundry official 



124 Life of Joshua Soule. 

acts of the General Conference changed to "Methodist 
Episcopal Church in the United States of America!' 
as a legal form, the name "Methodist Episcopal 
Church" being used as a popular or current title. At 
first glance this discussion might appear to have been 
lugged by the ears into this biography, but into no 
work other than an open history of American Metho- 
dism could it be more properly brought than ,into a 
study of the life of Joshua Soule, the man who fought 
the cause of the constitution through many changes 
and vicissitudes, and who, by the token herein cited, 
had a predilection for the original name of the Church. 
But to our engagement. 

When the Church was organized in 1784, the title 
received by common consent was "Methodist Episco- 
pal Church in America." This common consent re- 
ceived no doubt a confirmation in competent Confer- 
ence action, though the official Journal of the General 
Conference is no longer extant in any form. The data 
used by historians are the General Minutes of 1785 
(republished in 1795) and copies of the Discipline as 
compiled at the Christmas Conference. The pream- 
ble printed in the Minutes of 1785, as reprinted in 
1795, does not appear in the original pamphlet min- 
utes. It was added by some later editor, and is there- 
fore of no historical value in determining this point. 
In the original of the Minutes of 1785 Mr. Asbury in- 
troduced a brief note in which he says only that "it 
was agreed to form ourselves into an Episcopal 
Church, and to have superintendents, elders, and dea- 
cons." The state of the record as above described 
would leave us in much doubt, but concurrent docu- 



A Manifold Stewardship. 125 

ments carrying a parity of authority with the missing 
Journal make the point clear. In the episcopal let- 
ters issued by Bishop Coke to Francis Asbury, the 
original of which has been often authenticated, Dr. 
Coke styles himself "Superintendent of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in America." This document was 
written not more than three days after the action of 
the Conference by which the name and title of the 
Church was settled. Again the official books of the 
connection are in evidence. From 1784 to 1800 the 
Discipline and other publications of the Church bore on 
their title-pages the legend "in America." After that 
date the words "in America" disappeared from the title- 
pages of Methodist books and instead was printed 
simply "The Methodist Episcopal Church." A no less 
significant record was made in the General Minutes. 
From 1790 to 1799, inclusive, these Minutes contained 
annually the following question regularly answered — 
to wit : "Question. Who are elected by the unanimous 
suffrages of the General Conference to act as general 
superintendents of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 
America?" 

At the session of the General Conference of 1796 a 
formal change of the title of the Church was effected 
by virtue of several actions then taken by the Confer- 
ence. The first of these was an order creating "the 
Trustees of the Fund for the Relief and Support of the 
Itinerant, Superannuated, and Worn-Out Ministers 
and Preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 
the United States of America," etc. Dr. Bangs, in 
his "History of the Methodist Episcopal Church" 
(Vol. II., page 45, edition of 1840), says that these 



126 Life of Joshua Soule. 

Trustees were, soon after their constitution by the 
General Conference, incorporated as a legal body under 
the laws of Pennsylvania. So far as we can learn, this 
is the first legal incorporation of any name or title 
used by the early American Methodists. The sec- 
ond action bearing on the matter of the Church name 
was that by which the Conference ordered inserted 
in the Book of Discipline a property title clause di- 
recting Church deeds to be made to "the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in the United States of America." 
This name persisted in the Book of Discipline of the 
undivided Methodist Church from 1796 to the sepa- 
ration of 1844, and still persists in the Book of Disci- 
pline of the Methodist Episcopal Church (North), the 
other separated part of original Methodism. 

It is curiously as well as historically interesting to 
note how this change in the name of the Church is 
likely to have come about. When the Conference — 
that is, the progressive sitting of the itinerants — met 
in New York City in 1789, the Bishops, Coke and 
Asbury, called on General Washington, then officially 
in the city, and presented him with an address. In 
signing this address they styled themselves simply "the 
Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church," as was 
generally done in current writing. General Washing- 
ton in the paper of courtesy which he returned ad- 
dressed the two general superintendents as "the Bish- 
ops of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United 
States of America." The national title was then one 
to conjure with. Civic pride was at high tide. Surely 
and rather quickly the symbol of the republic became 
a member of the phrase which made the Church's 



A Manifold Stewardship. 127 

name. It was distinctly limiting; but in that good 
time of national infancy no serious thought of what 
had really been done or what might eventually come 
of it obtruded upon the minds of the fathers. But it 
so happened that the original name was changed, and 
in the way described, which history gives meaning to 
the action of the General Conference of 1820 in eliding 
the words "in America" from the name of the 
Church's missionary society. 

As the quadrennium of 1816-20 drew to a close 
a profound conviction settled upon Soule that he 
should not under any circumstances accept the post 
of Book Steward and Editor for another term. Bish- 
op McTyeire reports him as saying long years after- 
wards that he would not again endure "the wear and 
tear, the drudgery and worry, the anxiety and respon- 
sibility of those four years in the Book Concern for all 
of 200 Mulberry Street." His election had been whol- 
ly unsolicited and undesired. He accepted the trust 
without consulting his own wishes or judgment. He 
was now determined to lay it down, consulting only 
his own wishes and judgment. He longed to be back 
in the pastorate, and it is almost certain that he enter- 
tained no expectation that the votes of his brethren 
would call him at the end of his term to the office of 
the episcopacy; least of all did he anticipate the ex- 
traordinary situation which would render it necessary 
for him to decline the preference of his brethren as 
expressed in their electoral vote. 

Coming up to the General Conference, he found that 
his fellow-delegates had only words of approval for 
his administration of their publishing affairs and the 



128 Life of Joshua Soule. 

successful manner in which he had established and 
conducted the Methodist Magazine. To these words 
of approval they added the substantial testimonial of 
a thousand dollars voted from the surplus of the Book 
Concern to supplement his all too meager salary for 
the quadrennium. These tokens of appreciation must 
have made it only more difficult for him to take the 
strong stand against the majority action of the Con- 
ference which loyalty to the constitution and convic- 
tions of duty made necessary. But human conduct 
never carried a more certain manifest of sincerity and 
self-devotion than did his behavior throughout the 
course of affairs we are now to discuss. 



CHAPTER IX. 

An Effective Protest. 

The various stages of American Methodist history 
have issued from dynamical conditions brought to the 
explosive point by the actions of the Church's law- 
making assembly. Perhaps this observation is axio- 
matic enough to be applied to the work of other large 
religious bodies and to that of State Legislatures, but 
the student will at once see its applicability to Meth- 
odism. Passing by the history of the American Meth- 
odist societies anterior to 1784, we may select certain 
sessions of the General Conference as special instru- 
ments of those epoch-making forces whose effects are 
traceable in both the spirit and structure of Methodism 
to-day. 

The session of the General Conference which was 
convened in the city of Baltimore on May 1, 1820, 
was destined to be memorable amongst the always 
memorable sittings of that body. During ten or twelve 
days of its nearly four weeks of existence the thought 
and feeling of the body remained tense, and at times 
manifested considerable suppressed excitement under 
the weight of the old question as to whether the pre- 
siding elders should be appointed by the bishops or 
elected by the Annual Conferences. Bishop McTyeire, 
whom we have already had occasion to refer to as one 
who enjoyed exceptional opportunities of receiving 
from Bishop Soule views and impressions of those 
historic events in which the latter was a chief actor, 
9 (129) 



130 Life of Joshua Soule. 

says that the excitement stirred by the discussion of 
this question "can now hardly be realized." With this 
inside view, obtained from so reliable a source, Bish- 
op McTyeire felt justified in affirming that Soule's 
"unyielding advocacy of our executive system in 1820, 
and his firm stand then made, saved it ; and in saving 
it, clearly and without compromise, the working en- 
ergy and evangelism of the whole Church was main- 
tained." The same writer, drawing his knowledge 
from the same confidential source, is able to inform 
us that Bishop Soule's "old and beloved colleague, 
Bishop Hedding, afterwards told him that he looked 
on his decisive action, especially in 1820, in that light." 
To properly appreciate the significance of this tes- 
timony it must be borne in mind that Bishop Hedding 
was a partisan against Soule in the memorable con- 
test of this year, and was afterwards elected to the 
episcopacy largely by the votes of the advocates of an 
elective presiding eldership. Dr. John J. Tigert (aft- 
erwards bishop), in his "Constitutional History of 
Episcopal Methodism," affirms, and very safely, that 
"an orderly array of the facts in this case constitutes 
a sufficient vindication of Mr. Soule." In the valuable 
material which he brought together in the chapter of 
his history given to this General Conference he did 
much to make this orderly array possible. His con- 
cern, however, was to use this material in its single 
relation to the constitution, and not to assort and make 
it live as a part of the character and being of Joshua 
Soule. 

I am made conscious here that, vital as is this history, 
as also thr-t involved in the debates of 1844, no hand 



An Effective Protest. 131 

before my own has undertaken the difficult task of 
molding into the aspects of personality and giving bi- 
ographical shape to that part of it over which fell the 
shadow and into which entered the spirit and faith 
of the author of the constitution. This consciousness 
is of a sort to inspire satisfaction, but at the same time 
to beget feelings of diffidence and hesitation. A su- 
preme duty of Methodism will remain unperformed 
until the story of this man has been fully, frankly, 
and sympathetically told. 

The Committee on Episcopacy appointed by the 
General Conference of 1820 brought in its report on 
the twelfth day of the session. The report dwelt with 
tender and affectionate solicitude upon the too appar- 
ent fact of "the declining health and strength" of the 
Senior Superintendent, William McKendree, "worn 
down by long and extensive and faithful labors in the 
service of God and the Church." The report then 
turned to a consideration of the state of the episcopacy 
and closed with the recommendation "that it is ex- 
pedient that one additional General Superintendent be 
elected and ordained during the session of this Gen- 
eral Conference." On the thirteenth day of the ses- 
sion, near the beginning of the morning sitting, the 
Conference, acting on the recommendation oif the 
committee, proceeded to an election. After the sing- 
ing of several stanzas of a hymn and an invocation 
by Freeborn Garrettson, the ballot was taken. A total 
of eighty-eight votes was reported, of which Joshua 
Soule received forty-seven and Nathan Bangs thirty- 
eight. The remaining three were scattering. Joshua 
Soule having received a majority of the votes ca c t, 



132 Life of Joshua Soule. 

was declared to be duly elected to the office of a bishop, 
he being the seventh in the order of succession from 
Thomas Coke, the eighth from John Wesley. 

The juncture of affairs at this stage of the Confer- 
ence was happy and the outlook was promising, if 
not wholly reassuring. Soule was clearly the choice 
of the Conference for the episcopacy, and that on the 
high ground of merit. Party spirit had not nominated 
him, nor had divergence of sentiment controlled in his 
election. Although he had been previously unaware 
of the general preference of his brethren, nobody saw 
more clearly than the bishop elect the spontaneity of 
favor that had called him. He must therefore have 
looked forward with much satisfaction, if still with 
a burdening sense of responsibility, to years of labor 
and ministry as the servant of all his brethren. The 
ordination was appointed by the bishops to take place 
at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 24, being the eleventh 
day after the election. At least this is what the Jour- 
nal would seem to indicate ; but I am of the opinion 
that an earlier date was at first named, which was later 
changed, and only the latter date taken notice of in 
the Journal.* 

*Since the above paragraph was written I have discovered 
indubitable evidence of the fact that an earlier date had been 
set for Soule's ordination. It is contained in an autograph 
letter of Bishop McKendree which has not before been pub- 
lished, and which I had the good fortune to turn up in the 
accumulation of documents and letters to which reference 
has already been made. This letter shows that Friday, the 
19th day of May, was first fixed for the ordination. What 
could have been the motive or reason determining the 



An Effective Protest. 133 

A few days previous to the episcopal election, though 
the Journal contains no note of the fact, Messrs. Mer- 
ritt and Waugh revived in a motion submitted to the 
house the presiding elder question which had been voted 
down by so slender a majority in the General Confer- 
ence of 1812, and which had also been rejected in the 
session of 1816. The Journal nowhere contains a 
statement of the form in which the Merritt and Waugh 
motion was put, but the information has been secured 
from an extraneous and reliable source. Bishop Paine, 
in his "Life and Times of Bishop McKendree," sup- 
plies the missing record, quoting it from, an unpub- 
lished manuscript by Bishop Capers, who was him- 
self a member of the General Conference of 1820 and 
an active participant in the debates on this motion. 



change ? Could there have been expressed in it a wish to 
secure the passage of the resolutions before the ordination 
took place? The reader will have to decide the point for 
himself. The letter is as follows : 

"To Bishops George and Roberts. — Dear Brethren: On 
Thursday afternoon I addressed a note to you that I had ar- 
rived in town for the purpose of attending the ordination on 
Friday at 11 o'clock, according to our previous mutual agree- 
ment. In the evening of the same day I was verbally informed 
that it was put off till the Sabbath. I have waited till this 
time and have received no further communication from you 
relative to the time. My health requires that I should retire 
into the country as soon as possible, and think I cannot tarry 
longer than Tuesday evening. I wish the ordination to take 
place in the Conference before I go out. You will therefore 
fix the time and give me information, and I will attend. 

"Yours respectfully, W. McKendree. 

"Monday morning, May 22, 1820." 



134 Life of Joshua Soule. 

This manuscript says: "Early in the second week of 
the General Conference of 1820 T. Merritt, of New 
England, seconded by B. Waugh, of Baltimore, moved 
so to amend the Discipline that the answer to the first 
question in Section 5 of Chapter I., 'By whom are 
the presiding elders to be chosen?' to read as follows: 
'Answer. By the Conferences.' " 

At the time of the introduction of this motion it 
was read and sent to the table. The first notice that 
we have in the Journal of its presence on the calendar 
is an entry made on the sixteenth day, three days 
after Soule's election. This entry reads: "Moved and 
seconded to call up the resolution that had been laid 
on the table relating to the choice of presiding elders. 
Carried." This call was made near the hour of the 
noon adjournment, and after some parliamentary ma- 
neuvers, one of which was an attempt to secure an in- 
definite postponement, the way was cleared for the bat- 
tle of arguments; but, adjournment being ordered, the 
question was left pending. The entire afternoon of 
Tuesday, May 16, was consumed in the debate, and on 
Wednesday, after the reports of committees had been 
heard, the motion came up as unfinished business. In 
the discussion Dr. William Capers and Samuel Dun- 
woddy took strong grounds against the measure, while 
A. Griffith and others supported the affirmative. Again 
the hour of adjournment left the question pending, 
and the contest was renewed at the afternoon sitting. 
Near the hour of afternoon adjournment it was moved 
and carried that "the present motion lie on the table 
until to-morrow morning." 

The discussion promised to be an interminable one, 



An Effective Protest. 135 

and party feeling had reached a high pitch. The onset 
had been Titanic from both sides, for both parties real- 
ized that the hour was crucial. Dr. Bangs, who, it 
will be remembered, strongly favored the proposed 
legislation, says in his history: "Perhaps a greater 
amount of talent was never brought to bear upon any 
question ever brought before the General Conference 
than was elicited from both sides of the house in the 
discussion of this resolution. Some of the speeches 
were deep, pungent, and highly argumentative, the 
speakers throwing their whole souls into the subject 
and winding themselves up to the highest pitch of im- 
passioned eloquence, often concluding with a tremen- 
dous appeal to the understandings and consciences of 
their antagonists, both sides invoking the future pros- 
perity of the Church as an auxiliary to their argu- 
ments." It began to be apparent to the leading advo- 
cates of the movement for an elective presiding elder- 
ship that the measure could never carry in the radical 
form in which it was pending. They also now realized 
that, if by any chance it should ever obtain the favor 
of a majority, the result of its application would be 
disturbing to the last degree. They therefore began to 
cast about for a' form of resolution that could both 
command a majority vote and secure a more general 
unity of sentiment. Of the two Bishops, George and 
Roberts, elected in 1816, the former was known to 
be in favor of an elective presiding eldership. His 
sympathies had been steadily with the advocates of 
the measure, and he it was who now undertook to 
shape the course of compromise. When on the sev- 
enteenth day the motion was tabled "until to-morrow," 



136 ' Life of Joshua Soule. 

as above related, it was that the mover of the post- 
ponement, Ezekiel Cooper, might bring forward a sub- 
stitute that would, as he supposed, "be accommodating 
to both parties." Both Bishop Capers and Bishop 
Emory, who were on opposite sides in this discussion, 
agree in their later writings that it was generally un- 
derstood that Bishop George was the author of this 
paper. As recorded in the Journal it reads: "Re- 
solved, etc., that the bishop or the president of such 
Annual Conference shall ascertain the number of pre- 
siding elders wanted, and shall nominate three times 
the number, out of which nomination the Conference 
shall, without debate, elect by ballot the presiding 
elders." It will be seen that this was the old demand 
of 1812 and 1816 slightly modified; but being a mod- 
ification and receding materially from the unvarnished 
radicalism of the Merritt-Waugh motion, it was be- 
lieved that it would "accommodate." The situation 
which it created was both interesting and serious. 

The substitute of Cooper was laid on the table along 
with the original motion. When the order arrived 
the next day, the original motion was again deferred 
to give time for the discussion of the substitute. Mat- 
ters now took a new and sudden turn. The hand of 
Bishop George was again interposed, and, through 
Messrs. Capers and Emory, he secured the bringing in 
of a motion to the effect that six members of the Con- 
ference^ — three from either side of the controversy — 
be appointed to wait on the bishops and confer with 
them as to what alterations might be made to conciliate 
the wishes of the brethren on this subject. The com- 
mittee, being appointed, was instructed to interview 



An Effective Protest. 137 

the bishops and report to the Conference on the fol- 
lowing day. 

The bishops were met that afternoon, but no defi- 
nite action was suggested to the committee as the re- 
sult of the interview. Bishop McKendree expressed 
himself as flatly opposed to any change in the rule, 
but the other two bishops were favorable to some al- 
teration. Another meeting was appointed for the fol- 
lowing morning, but it did not take place. At noon, 
however, Bishop George consulted with the committee ; 
and after some very searching questions asked by the 
negative side, it was agreed that the following reso- 
lutions should be reported to the Conference — viz. : 
"1. That whenever in any Annual Conference there 
shall be a vacancy or vacancies in the office of pre- 
siding elder in consequence of his period of service of 
four years having expired or the bishop wishing to 
remove any presiding elder, or by death, resignation, 
or otherwise, the bishop or president of the Conference 
having ascertained the number wanted from any of 
these causes, shall nominate three times the number, 
out of which the Conference shall elect by ballot, with- 
out debate, the number wanted; provided, when there 
is more than one wanted not more than three at a 
time shall be nominated, and not more than one at a 
time elected; provided, also, that in case of any va- 
cancy or vacancies in the office of presiding elder in 
the interval of any Annual Conference, the bishop 
shall have the authority to fill the said vacancy or va- 
cancies until the ensuing Annual Conference. 2. That 
the presiding elders be, and hereby are, made the ad- 



138 Life of Joshua Soule. 

visory council of the bishop or president of the Con- 
ference in stationing the preachers." 

This resolution was written by Dr. Emory (after- 
wards bishop), but was signed by the entire committee, 
including Stephen G. Roszel, Joshua Wells, and Wil- 
liam Capers, who had been strongly committed against 
an elective presiding eldership. 

The principle of this resolution was not different 
(as Bishop George himself declared) from the old de- 
mands. It took the appointment of the presiding eld- 
ers out of the hands of the bishops and put it in the 
hands of the Conferences, and that under a rule cum- 
bersome, awkward, and calculated to breed "a sea of 
troubles" in the Annual Conferences. But the dele- 
gates had grown weary of strife and were filled with 
apprehensions, so much so that when the new reso- 
lution was put on its passage that afternoon it received 
sixty-one out of eighty-six votes, and was declared 
adopted. Thus was a contention, begun in 1792 by 
James O'Kelly and constantly renewed for twenty- 
eight years, but as constantly frowned upon, at last suc- 
cessful in commanding a majority vote of the General 
Conference. "Great joy was expressed at this union," 
writes a member of the Conference. "All now were 
in fellowship, if words could be taken as evidence." 
"It was hoped by many on both sides of the house," 
says Dr. Bangs, "that this long-agitated question would 
be permitted to rest in quiet." There was indeed quiet 
for a time, but it was a quiet that came of the mis- 
guided action of men who in a crucial struggle had 
sacrificed their convictions for a false peace, and who 
were now speechless. 



An Effective Protest. 139 

A majority of the Conference was against the prin- 
ciple involved in the new rule ; they were for the con- 
stitution unimpaired, but they had been harried into 
submission by the minority. A great and courageous 
leader had been needed. There was a man near by 
who might fully have supplied that lack, but he had 
been previously bound with the fetters of an episcopal 
election. Considerations of delicacy and propriety made 
it impossible for him to enter the lists of debate. His 
halfway station between the seat of a delegate and 
the episcopal chair put him where his advice could 
neither be sought nor given. He could only sit by as 
a listener and spectator. He had indeed silently pro- 
tested with his vote as one of the twenty-five who went 
to record against the compromise resolution. He had 
waited. But the time had come when it was necessary 
that he should wait no longer. He was now to enter 
an effective protest — one consonant with the delicacy 
of his situation, one worthy of him, and of which the 
after age should hear. 

At the critical moment Joshua Soule made a stand. 
"By the very nature and look and carriage of the man, 
he was one to make a stand." He was accustomed 
to meeting difficulties with frankness and courage. 
Every attitude which he assumed was sublime. He 
was as free from the mock heroic as he was from the 
role of the clown. "His courage was calm and great, 
his perceptions clear, his convictions firm, his survey 
of the situation thorough. He was not impatient. He 
had faith in truth and right, that in good time they 
would be vindicated." Having planted himself upon 
a conviction, he was immovable. 



140 Life of Joshua Soule. 

Immediately following the action of the Conference 
in adopting the "presiding elder" resolutions, Joshua 
Soule asked leave of absence from the Conference 
sitting. Without unnecessary delay, but "after a 
prayerful and mature consideration of the subject," 
he penned a letter to Bishops George and Roberts, 
excluding from the address the name of Bishop Mc- 
Kendree because of the absence of the Senior Super- 
intendent from the city. This letter reads as follows : 

Dear Bishops: In consequence of an act of the General 
Conference passed this day, in which I conceive the constitu- 
tion of the Methodist Episcopal Church is violated and that 
episcopal government which has heretofore distinguished her 
greatly enervated by a transfer of executive power from the 
episcopacy to the several Annual Conferences, it becomes my 
duty to notify you, from the imposition of whose hands only I 
can be qualified for the office of superintendent, that, under 
the existing state of things, I cannot, consistently with my 
convictions of propriety and obligation, enter upon the work 
of an itinerant general superintendent. 

I was elected under the constitution and government of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church unimpaired. On no other consid- 
eration but that of their continuance would I have consented 
to be considered a candidate for a relation in which were in- 
corporated such arduous labors and awful responsibilities. 

I do not feel myself at liberty to wrest myself from your 
hands, as the act of the General Conference has placed me 
in them; but I solemnly declare, and could appeal to the 
Searcher of hearts for the sincerity of my intention, that I 
cannot act as superintendent under the rules this day made 
and established by the General Conference. 

With this open and undisguised declaration before you, 
your wisdom will dictate the course proper to be pursued. 

I ardently desire peace, and, if it will tend to promote it, 
am willing, perfectly willing that my name should rest in for- 
getfulness. J. Soule. 



An Effective Protest. 141 

This letter was written on Friday the 19th, but it 
was Monday the 226. before Bishop Roberts, with 
whom it had been lodged, could bring it to the at- 
tention of Bishop McKendree. Bishop Roberts "ex- 
pressed the opinion that the bishop elect did not seem 
disposed to submit to the authority of the General 
Conference." Without time to carefully study the 
communication, Bishop McKendree doubted if such 
a sentiment were expressed in it. It is impossible, 
whatever method of interpretation be used upon the 
letter, to extract from it this meaning; but it is in- 
dicative of the prevalence of partisan feeling that a 
man so naturally conservative as Bishop Roberts 
should be able to so misread a brother's statement. 

The Church was most fortunate in having had a 
careful record of this particular part of the transac- 
tion preserved by Bishop McKendree in his Journal. 
It was agreed, he says, between him and Bishop Rob- 
erts that the latter should see Mr. Soule and report 
at a meeting of the bishops the next morning. It 
was also agreed that should Mr. Soule express any 
purpose to ignore an act of the General Conference, 
his ordination could not be proceeded with. Bishop 
George visited him according to agreement, and the 
result, as stated in the language of Bishop McKen- 
dree, was that "Soule disavowed the sentiment which 
the letter was supposed to contain, and stated his 
views on the back of the letter in terms too plain to be 
misunderstood."* 

*At the special request of Bishop McKendree, I hereby cer- 
tify that in the above statement I mean no more than that I 
cannot, consistently with my views of propriety and respon- 



142 Life of Joshua Soule. 

The bishops met the next morning according to ap- 
pointment. When they had carefully read the two 
letters of the bishop elect, it was clear that he had 
done two things: (i) he had fully cleared himself of 
contumacious sentiment; (2) but he put the bishops 
themselves to test on the constitutionality of the "pre- 
siding eldership" question. Bishop McKendree con- 
sidered it unconstitutional. With the eye-opening let- 
ter of Soule before him, Bishop Roberts expressed 
the belief that the measure was "an infringement of 
the constitution." "Bishop George chose to be silent." 
The question now was : Should they proceed, under 
the existing circumstances, with the ordination of the' 
bishop elect? It was unanimously agreed that he 
should be ordained, and to Bishop George was as- 
signed the task of preparing the credentials and the 
preaching of the ordination sermon. 

Thus the bishops saw their way, but felt that a com- 
munication was due the Conference. The bishop elect 
also approved this course, and Bishop McKendree was 
charged with the important task. 

The Conference being assembled, the venerable sen- 
ior bishop appeared before it, and, reading the letter 
of the bishop elect, informed the body of the decision 
of the bishops to proceed with the ordination, and also 
gave "an intimation of their opinion respecting the 
constitutional difficulty." This "intimation" was in 
the form of a rather lengthy review of the situation, 

sibility, administer that part of the government particularly 
embraced in the act of the General Conference above men- 
tioned, Joshua Soule. 



An Effective Protest. 143 

in which McKendree expressed in vigorous terms his 
personal judgment of the resolution as "leaving the 
bishops divested of their power to oversee the business 
of the Church under the full responsibility of General 
Superintendents." Continuing, he said: "I extremely 
regret that you have, by this measure, reduced me to 
the painful necessity of pronouncing the resolution 
unconstitutional, and therefore destitute of the proper 
authority of the Church. . . . Under the influence 
of this sentiment, and considering the importance of 
the subject, I enter this protest." 

Nor did the venerable man stop at this. Reasoning 
that if the constitution may be violated in one par- 
ticular it may be so violated in any, in all, he then 
adds: "Believing as I do that this resolution is unau- 
thorized by the constitution, and therefore not to be 
regarded as a rule of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
I consider myself under no obligation to enforce it 
or enjoin it on others to do so." That a profound im- 
pression was created upon the Conference by the 
reading of the letter of Mr. Soule and the protest of 
Bishop McKendree may well be imagined. Dr. Bangs 
says the situation "led to a serious suspense in respect 
to the expediency of the measure." Such was the re- 
spect for the character and judgment of Bishop Mc- 
Kendree, as also for Mr. Soule, that immediately a 
purpose to rescind the offensive resolutions began to 
take shape. The extreme advocates of the new rule, 
however, took great umbrage at the course of the 
senior bishop and the bishop elect. 

As already noted, the ordination was appointed for 
the hour of 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 24. The pre- 



144 Lt/£ of Joshua Soule. 

sentation of Bishop McKendree's protest and the read- 
ing of Mr. Soule's letter occurred near the middle of 
the morning session on Tuesday, May 23. During 
the noon recess "those in favor of a change held a 
caucus without consulting those not in favor of a 
change, and agreed to arrest the ordination of Joshua 
Soule." This statement, made by Bishop Capers, ex- 
plains a motion offered in the afternoon session of the 
same day by D. Ostrander and J. Smith, as follows : 

Whereas Brother Joshua Soule, bishop elect, has signified 
in his letter to the episcopacy, which letter was read in open 
Conference, that if he be ordained bishop he will not hold 
himself bound by a certain resolution of the General Confer- 
ence relative to the nomination and election of presiding 
elders ; wherefore, 

Resolved, That the bishops be earnestly requested by this 
Conference to defer or postpone the ordination of the said 
Joshua Soule until he gives satisfactory explanations to this 
Conference. 

The candid student can but be surprised at the lan- 
guage of this resolution, in view of Mr. Soule's frank 
and unequivocal statements ; but the excitement of the 
moment had attributed to the bishop elect the language 
of protest employed by Bishop McKendree. It was 
not only the privilege but the duty of Bishop McKen- 
dree to speak in protest against any unconstitutional 
act of the majority; while the situation of Mr. Soule 
was one which demanded reserve and sacrifice. It 
began to be clear to him that with the new rule in 
force he could never accept ordination to the episco- 
pacy. Had he been already ordained, his position 
would no doubt have been that of Mr. McKendree, 



An Effective Protest. 145 

and his language could not have been lacking in frank- 
ness. As he now stood he could not act as defender 
of the constitution, but only as a sacrifice upon its 
altar.* 

A debate sprinkled, as it would appear, with acrid- 
ity and criticism, followed the introduction of the Os- 
trander resolution proposing to arrest the ordination. 
Upon this Mr. Soule asked the privilege of making a 
statement. That his remarks had the effect of clear- 
ing him wholly from the imputation contained in the 

*From the fragment of a manuscript unquestionably in 
Bishop McKendree's handwriting I make these extracts : "At 
an advanced stage of the debate the Conference appointed a 
committee composed of leading characters on both sides of 
the question to consult the bishops on the subject. The 
senior bishop, in consequence of great debility, was much con- 
fined to his room. Therefore the other bishops and the com- 
mittee waited on him and obtained his opinion unfavorable 
to the proposition before the Conference. The bishop who 
had put off the ordination of the bishop elect, without di- 
rection from the Conference or consulting his colleagues, in- 
vited the committee to meet him. They did so; and there, 
by his influence, as I understood, the motion which had been 
under discussion was remodeled and a compromise agreed 
to, etc. . . . The senior bishop submitted the propriety 
of developing our situation and the state of things to Con- 
ference. It was judged proper to do so, and he was re- 
quested to make the communication. . . . The Confer- 
ence after receiving the information became much agitated. 
Various attempts were made to criminate the bishop elect, 
but none could be made to hold. He had only stated his 
views to the bishops. . . . They had resolved to receive 
and ordain him. I heard no objection to the bishops' reso- 
lution to ordain the bishop elect. ... Be this as it may, 
Soule suffered." 
10 



146 Life of Joshua Soule. 

resolution is evident, for immediately a motion to 
postpone indefinitely was offered ; but before the ques- 
tion could be put the mover withdrew it uncondition- 
ally. Nor was this all. Before its next breath was 
drawn the Conference heard a motion to reconsider 
the "presiding elder question," so as to open the main 
question to a new vote. Those who were opposed to 
the election of presiding elders, but who for the sake 
of peace had gone into a compromise movement, now 
felt released from the compact by the action of the 
other side in going into a secret caucus. But though 
this party was strong, it was unable to force a vote 
on the proposition to reconsider, nor was the other 
side able to secure a postponement. The debate was 
waged through Wednesday morning, and now the hour 
set for the ordination was approaching. Attention was 
called to this fact. A situation existed the way out 
of which the most astute parliamentarian in the house 
could not see. "At this critical juncture the manly 
dignity of Mr. Soule again came to the rescue." "At 
five minutes before eleven o'clock," as we are informed 
by the Journal, "he arose and expressed the wish that 
the General Conference should by vote request the 
episcopacy to delay his ordination for some time." 
This proper and courteous request was not formally 
granted, but the debate went on until within a few 
minutes of the noon hour, when it was discovered that 
the house was without a quorum. For the episcopacy 
Bishop George announced that the ordination had been 
postponed, and the Conference adjourned until the 
afternoon. 

At the afternoon session the vote was taken on the 



An Effective Protest. 147 

motion to reconsider the presiding elder question, and 
resulted in a tie. The ballot was repeated with a sim- 
ilar result. The motion was therefore lost, and the 
situation was tenser than before. But, as the Journal 
records, Bishop George announced that the ordination 
of Mr. Soule would take place at twelve o'clock in the 
Conference room. To accept ordination to the episco- 
pacy under these conditions was impossible to Joshua 
Soule, and he accordingly and without delay sub- 
mitted to the Conference "a communication in which 
he stated his resignation of the office of a bishop 
in the Methodist Episcopal Church to which he had 
been elected." This communication was, on motion, 
left on the table. The ordination ceremonies were, 
of course, again off, and the Conference took up the 
calendar. 

The Conference not showing a disposition to call 
up his letter of resignation, Mr. Soule at the after- 
noon session asked that it be acted upon. A motion 
requesting him to withdraw his letter of resignation 
was offered, but was itself withdrawn. The coura- 
geous stand of the bishop elect further impressed the 
body, friends and opponents. The delegates desired 
time to study the new development. In the mean- 
time, to make his position still clearer to the bishops, 
whose setting of a second hour for his ordination came 
as a surprise to him, Mr. Soule addressed to the epis- 
copacy the following letter : 

Bishops McKendree, George, and Roberts. 

Dear Bishops: The course which I have pursued in present- 
ing my resignation to the Conference may savor of disrespect 
to you, and therefore needs apology. I spent the night in a 



148 Life of Joshua Sonic. 

sleepless manner, and could not prepare the communications 
which I designed to make to you and to the Conference in 
time to see you until after Conference hours. Not having the 
least intimation or idea of the appointment for ordination this 
morning, my intention was to have seen you together immedi- 
ately after the morning session and to communicate to you 
first my resignation, and to the Conference at the opening of 
the afternoon session. But on coming to the Conference I 
learned that the ordination was notified for this morning; and 
in order to prevent improper excitement as to the time appoint- 
ed for ordination, I presented my resignation to the Conference 
when I did. I hope you will not pass a severe censure on me 
until you shall hear the reasons which have led to this measure. 

Yours most respectfully, Joshua Soule. 

May 25, 1820. 

The tide in the great constitutional contest had now 
reached its height, and during the adjournment over- 
night perceptibly turned. The ultimate decisive change 
was expressed in a motion submitted at the morning 
session of the next day, as follows : "Moved that 
the rule passed at this Conference respecting the nom- 
ination and election of presiding elders be suspended 
until the next General Conference, and that the Su- 
perintendents be and they are hereby directed to act 
under the old rule respecting the appointment of 
presiding elders." The remainder of the morning aft- 
er the appearance of this motion was consumed in 
parliamentary maneuvers. Indefinite postponement 
was asked for but denied. The point of order was 
then raised on the motion, but was promptly ruled 
against by the President, Bishop Roberts. An ap- 
peal was taken to the house, but the Chair was sus- 
tained. The hour of adjournment arriving, the busi- 
ness went over. 



An Effective Protest. 149 

In the afternoon session a spirited debate ensued, 
in which Nathan Bangs and Elijah Hedding took the 
leading parts. Another unsuccessful attempt was 
made to indefinitely postpone the motion to postpone 
the presiding eldership rule. The motion on the rule 
was, however, laid temporarily on the table, that the 
Conference might take up and consider Mr. Soule's 
letter of declination. Again the bishop elect was 
urged to withdraw his letter. This he firmly declined 
to do, and it will be easily seen that this final decision 
was logical and of a piece with the whole course of 
his action. The rule was still in force, the effort to 
suspend it having been up to this stage unsuccessful. 
It is even a question if he would have accepted ordi- 
nation under the suspension of the resolution. 

The Journal of the General Conference contains a 
simple statement to the effect that Mr. Soule's dec- 
lination was accepted, but there is no evidence that 
such a motion was ever put to the Conference. It 
was a release by consent. The firm and persevering 
course of the chief person of this long-drawn drama 
hastened the falling of the curtain. Almost immedi- 
ately thereafter the main question — the proposition 
to suspend for four years the newly enacted rule on 
the presiding eldership — was put to the house and 
carried by a substantial majority, forty-five voting 
for the suspension and thirty-four voting against it. 
From this time forward the abortive rule was des- 
tined to be known as the "suspended resolutions." 
They had a long history, being carried by Bishop Mc- 
Kendree around the connection during the succeeding 
quadrennium for the judgment of the Annual Con- 



150 Life of Joshua Soule. 

ferences on their constitutionality and expediency. 
We shall meet them again in the course of this nar- 
rative. 

On the day following the suspension of the pre- 
siding elder resolutions a movement was started look- 
ing to another episcopal election, but it soon became 
evident that no other result than the reelection of 
Soule could be obtained. This result his opponents 
did not desire, and for his own part he laid upon his 
friends the duty of preventing it. The bishops, after 
consulting together, reported to the Conference that 
they would be able without reenforcement to superin- 
tend the work of the connection for another quad- 
rennium, and thus the long chapter ended, so far as 
it concerned the General Conference of 1820. 

That which remains to Methodism of this presiding 
eldership contest beyond a mere historic interest is 
that its records serve as criteria by which to test the 
content of the constitution at this point — the right of 
the bishops to appoint the preachers to their stations, 
including every form of official service to which they 
may be called. This is a right in the last analysis, 
for from McKendree down the bishops have been ac- 
customed to use the knowledge and discretion of the 
presiding elders as their own, employing their ex- 
clusive right to make appointments only where they 
have ample or superior knowledge, or where an act 
of primacy in parity becomes necessary. Autocracy 
is impossible where this principle (which is the true 
constitutional one at this point) is observed. That it 
has sometimes been disregarded is not to be disputed, 
but the cases in which a bishop has thus been "in 



An Effective Protest. 151 

contempt of his cabinet," to use an episcopal phrase, 
are the exceptions to a rule which has obtained in 
Episcopal Methodism for well-nigh a hundred years. 

It is not likely that this question will ever again 
seriously recur in parliamentary shape, but if it should 
there will be no difficulty in remembering the demand 
of Bishop McKendree when he took his appeal to the 
Annual Conferences : Let a decision come in a consti- 
tutional way from the Annual Conferences; let them 
take the responsibility of declaring constitutional that 
which so plainly runs contrary to a restrictive rule, 
or else let them open the way for it to be settled in 
the constitution amongst the fundamentals. The de- 
mand, in other words, was : Change the constitution, 
and do it in the constitutional way. Had the course 
of the advocates of the new rule been directed toward 
securing their cause in the terms of a constitutional 
amendment, the mouth of Soule had been closed, and 
his declination of the honors proffered him in 1820 
would never have been heard of. The constitution 
can amend itself, but those who live under it can do 
nothing contrary to it. The constitutional path lay 
open to the electionists in 1820. But the constitution 
(there was the rub !) was a wall too high to be scaled. 



CHAPTER X. 

Doubly Called. 

With the close of the exciting scenes of the Gen- 
eral Conference of 1820, Soule returned to his home 
in New York City, where he had greatly commended 
himself to the local laity, and where as a preacher he 
was in general demand. He was already a member 
of the New York Conference, and had served in the 
last General Conference as a delegate from that body. 
The rule now in force respecting the Conference re- 
lations of connectional officers had not then been es- 
tablished. When elected General Book Steward, there- 
fore, his transfer from New England to New York 
became a matter of course. This circumstance proved 
eminently satisfactory in the end, both to him and to 
the local Church which desired his services. The 
New York Conference met on June 1, five days after 
the adjournment of the General Conference, and so 
without loss of time he stepped again into the pas- 
torate. 

The almost daily experience of this already much- 
suffering man during the quadrennium between 1820 
and 1824 was connected with what we shall now uni- 
formly know as the "suspended resolutions." He had 
wished to retire to a pastorate and the quiet life of 
his own family circle, and there live disentangled from 
the discussions and involvements which he foresaw 
must follow the effort to dispose of these resolutions. 
In a letter written to a friend — a friend not identified, 
(152) 



Doubly Called. 153 

but a leader, as it would appear, in one of the 
stronger Conferences — shortly after his return to New 
York City this wish is ardently expressed. The letter, 
which, so far as I can ascertain, has never been pub- 
lished, is now dim and hangs together in shreds and 
fragments, but the chirography is unmistakable. From 
such parts of it as can be read I make these extracts : 

Hitherto the merits of this question have been tested only 
at the tribunal of the General Conference and almost ex- 
clusively with reference to the ministry. It may be justly 
doubted whether those who have advocated a change have 
any proper assurance that the membership of the Church 
would approve of such a change. That the question is of 
vital importance to the whole body I need not attempt to 
prove. . . . 

My habits of thinking had associated with the episcopacy 
the prosperity of the work of God in general and the dearest 
interests of the Church, and with the character of the bish- 
ops I had identified that of the whole body. . . . 

My principles of action were fixed ; there was no reserve 
when I decided. Hope, which had so long hovered round the 
shades of solitude, gave up the delightful scenes, and every 
anticipation of enjoyment in my long-desired retreat met at 
once a hopeless grave. I had cast my eyes over a rising 
family, to which my affection was strongly attached, and had 
virtually submitted them to the disposal of providence and 
the care and protection of the Church. I had taken into ac- 
count the arduous work which lay before me — the privations 
and sufferings inseparable from the office. . . . 

It verily appeared to me that jealousy, suspicion, and con- 
tention would be the legitimate posterity of those resolutions. 
Every view of the subject rendered my own situation more 
and more critical. How to sustain the character of Christian 
humility and manifest a suitable deference to the judgment 
of so large a majority of the General Conference, some mem- 
bers of which were ministers of the gospel when I was in 



154 Life of Joshua Soulc. 

or near the cradle, and at the same time to appear in the 
light of that noble independence which I have ever valued 
as one of the brightest ornaments of the human mind was a 
matter of no ordinary difficulty. . . . 

It was well understood, as far as I was known, that I was 
decidedly in favor of the old plan and wished to preserve 
the executive authority in the hands of the general superin- 
tendents, where the General Conference and the constitu- 
tion had deposited it. I had defended it publicly and privately. 
. . . There was nothing equivocal, nothing concealed. Un- 
der these circumstances my election obtained. No attempt 
was made to alter the government, nor any intimation given 
of an attempt to do so, so far as I know, until after the 
election. ... A course of silence and submission on my 
part would have demonstrated that I was unworthy the con- 
fidence which had been reposed in me. It might have been 
said with just inference, and in direct reference to me, that 
"the honor of a miter will damp the zeal of sentiment." 

Some observations may be made on this letter. 
For the first part, it shows that Soule had great re- 
spect for the laity of the Church, and early deferred 
to the voice of the Church's general membership. He 
was a strong constitutionalist, but he recognized that 
the constitution was a guarantee to the laymen as well 
as to the clergy. He logically concluded that the 
laity would prefer the old rule to the new. Again, 
this letter shows that he had carefully counted the 
cost of being a Methodist bishop. He had in antici- 
pation of service in the office put comfort, ease, family, 
and life on the altar of acceptance. He had deter- 
mined to be that servant of all whom his Master had 
called. 

He showed that he had a lofty ideal of the epis- 
copacy — its work, its singleness of purpose, and its 



Doubly Called. 155 

identification with the character and work of the 
Church. He at last makes it clear that he had weighed 
duty and ambition together and had chosen duty — • 
duty from which even the enticements of a miter 
could not swerve him. 

Bishop McKendree, it will be remembered, deter- 
mined to appeal to the Annual Conferences to pass on 
the suspended resolutions before another General Con- 
ference should sit. This, as it proved, was a wise 
and statesmanlike course. For it he had a conspicuous 
precedent. In 1809 he and Bishop Asbury, as gen- 
eral superintendents, formed the Genesee Conference. 
Against this act there was an outcry, it being freely 
charged that there was no authority therefor. As an 
answer to this charge the bishops immediately laid 
the matter before the Annual Conferences, and the 
challenged act of episcopal administration was ap- 
proved. With this record of instruction from the body 
of the preachers, the General Conference accepted the 
Genesee Conference as having been legally organized, 
though it thereupon declared that the authority to 
organize new Conferences should thereafter rest only 
with the legislative body. 

In his plan for dealing with the suspended resolu- 
tions the senior bishop was not seconded by a large 
party. The extreme electionists were unfriendly to 
the idea, being unwilling to even raise the question of 
legality. The friends of the old rule looked generally 
with disfavor upon it, because they hoped to see the 
objectionable novelty circumvented without exposing 
the constitution to the invasion of a weakening ele- 
ment. Joshua Soule, who was closer to McKendree 



156 Life of Joshua Soule. 

than any other living man, was doubtful of the wis- 
dom of the appeal. His deathless devotion to the con- 
stitution made it difficult for him to consider the pos- 
sibility, after so much sacrifice, of opening a way into 
the fundamental law of the Church for the disruptive 
measure. 

In a letter dated February 27, 1821, Bishop Mc- 
Kendree fully disclosed to Soule his plan of proced- 
ure. "The course I took at the last General Confer- 
ence," he wrote, "respecting the suspended resolutions 
— to lay the subject before the Annual Conferences — 
must be carried out. ... I expect to begin at 
the next Ohio Conference and so go through the Con- 
ferences. I design to lay the subject so before them 
as to set them completely at liberty, so far as respects 
me, as to authorize the adoption, and thus put an end 
to strife, if this will do it, and thereby give additional 
strength to the constitution, which will guard us 
against infringements for the future. . . . I de- 
sire, dear brother, to hear from you. Please write 
fully and sentimentally." 

To this affectionate and confidential request Mr. 
Soule wrote at considerable length and in a thorough- 
ly characteristic style. This letter must stand not only 
as a dignified utterance between two great souls in 
absolute and affectionate confidence, but as one of 
the masterly state papers of Methodism. Dr. Tigert 
printed liberal extracts from this document in his 
"History of Constitutional Methodism." As the orig- 
inal is before me and should be preserved, I give it 
entire so far as it relates to the subject in hand. It 
is as follows : 



Doubly Called. 157 

Dear Bishop: I have received three letters from you since 
I wrote, which certainly requires apology on ray part. When 
I was in Baltimore I should have answered your first, but 
knew not where to direct; and then you suggested a doubt 
as to whether you should reach Baltimore. Your second, 
which I received about a week ago, gave me directions rela- 
tive to your intended course and where I might meet you. 
I was investigating the weighty subjects of your letters pre- 
paratory to an answer when your third came to hand yester- 
day by Brother Ryland. I am too deeply employed at this 
moment in the important business of our missionary society, 
preparatory to the anniversary which meets to-morrow even- 
ing, to enter at any considerable length into the interesting 
subject proposed in your communications. 

On proposing and recommending to the Annual Confer- 
ences the adoption of the suspended resolutions of the Gen- 
eral Conference I have my doubts and fears. I am decidedly 
of your, opinion, that, although the resolutions are no im- 
provement of our system, but rather tend to enfeeble its 
energies, yet, if no further encroachments are made upon the 
executive authority, the government may be administered 
under the provisions of those resolutions. And if I had any 
sufficient security that the adoption of those resolutions in 
constitutional order would be the means of reconciliation 
and lay the foundation for a permanent peace, I would cor- 
dially recommend them for such adoption. But it is impos- 
sible for me to conceive that those brethren who for so many 
years have contested the radical principles of the government 
will rest satisfied while the essential features of episcopacy 
remain. And I am fully pursuaded that one change will be 
urged as a ground, plead as a precedent, and used as an aux- 
iliary to promote another. If the course which you propose 
is pursued, it follows that each Conference must act, in rec- 
ommending the adoption of the resolutions, upon the ground 
that they are unconstitutional. I think it is a fair presumption 
that some of the Conferences will not act on this ground. 
But my principal fears are the effect which the measure may 
have on the membership. The measures of the last General 



158 Life of Joshua Soule. 

Conference have given many of our people great alarm. 
From the time the constitution was formed, in which the 
character of the government was fixed and the rights of the 
members, private and official, secured, all seem to have set- 
tled down in peace and quietude and confidence. It seemed 
like the return of a calm after a storm, and general joy pre- 
vailed under the conviction that we had arrived to that per- 
manent state of things in which all might rest. No alteration 
of the government was expected or desired, nor did an ap- 
prehension prevail that any new burdens would be imposed 
or terms of communion established. Under these assurances, 
what must have been the surprise when the proceedings of 
the General Conference were made public? A transfer of 
important and long-established prerogatives from one official 
department to another, and even doubts suggested as to the 
validity of the constitution itself ! From this view of the 
subject I am fully convinced that the resolutions can never 
go into operation with safety to the peace of the Church on 
any other ground but that which you propose ; and, all things 
considered, I am inclined to think that your course is the best 
and safest which can be pursued. If I do not see you in 
New York, I will avail myself of the earliest opportunity 
after our Conference to communicate more fully on the subject. 

In a later section of this chapter I shall take note 
of the results obtained by the venerable senior bishop 
in his Annual Conference referendum on the "sus- 
pended resolutions." 

At the moment when Bishop McKendree, with his 
own and Bishop Elect Soule's letters in his hand, came 
before the General Conference of 1820 to protest 
against the threatened unconstitutional action of the 
electionists, he started an issue which, after decades of 
discussion and waiting, crystallized into the veto pro- 
vision as it now exists in the constitution of the Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church, South. A reference to the evo- 



Doubly Called. 159 

lutional course of this veto proviso is pertinent to this 
story, because Bishop Soule sustained to it not only the 
relation of expressed sympathy, but gave to the dis- 
cussion of its merits and claims some of his best 
thought and most industrious efforts. The General 
Conference, as a result of Bishop McKendree's pro- 
test and Mr. Soule's declination of episcopal ordina- 
tion, recommended to the Annual Conferences to au- 
thorize a constitutional measure whereby the bishops 
could veto any act of the General Conference which 
they believed to be an infringement of the constitu- 
tion ; nevertheless, the General Conference was to be 
permitted to override this veto if it could muster a 
two-thirds vote in rejoinder. The Conferences failed 
to authorize this provision. But largely through the 
efforts of Soule and McKendree a similar measure 
was, in 1824, proposed to the Annual Conferences for 
ratification. Only in this case it was provided that, if 
the General Conference persisted in the face of an 
episcopal veto, the measure was to go to the Annual 
Conferences for final determination. Thus were the 
Conferences and the episcopacy to share the veto 
power. The principle involved in this was plain — 
namely, the General Conference cannot be the judge 
of the constitutionality of its own acts. This was the 
doctrine of McKendree and Soule. In this last shape 
the measure went to the Annual Conferences between 
1824 and 1828, failing of ratification. But in the 
General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, which met in 1870 the principle was 
again initiated, was subsequently ratified, and is now, 
as before indicated imbedded in the constitution, 



160 Life of Joshua Soule. 

Could Bishop Soule have lived but four years longer, 
he should have seen one of his early ideals realized 
amongst the institutions of Methodism in the beloved 
land of his adoption. 

To those who are proved great and generous fall 
multiplied responsibilities, and to those who shun a 
grace in bearing burdens shall burdens be added. 
During the two years of Joshua Soule's pastorate in 
New York City a variety of harassing but not unex- 
pected disturbances arose in the Churches contained in 
the station or city circuit. The first in order of these 
was probably the agitation which was begun amongst 
the colored members for an independent organization. 
As these people were weak and their church buildings 
greatly embarrassed with debt, Soule strove earnest- 
ly to reconcile them to remaining with their white 
brethren. His efforts possibly delayed the movement 
of separation, but in the latter part of 1820 the Zion 
Colored Church declared its independence. In this 
course it was soon followed by the other congrega- 
tions of colored people in New York and Brooklyn, 
and in 1821, at a conference held in New York City, 
the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was 
formed. 

But there was made another and more serious 
breach in the membership by revolutionary white lead- 
ers. Rev. James M. Stillwell, one of the preachers 
of the district, stationed for the year at a suburban 
post known as Zion and Asbury, led a secession of 
three hundred dissident members into an independent 
organization. Writing in September of the year 
(1820) to Bishop McKendree concerning this schism. 



Doubly Called. 161 

Soule says : "You will doubtless see Bishop George in 
Baltimore or its vicinity and receive from him a nar- 
rative of the disastrous events which have transpired 
in this station. Suffice it to say that several hundred 
have separated themselves from the fellowship of our 
Church, established an independent congregation, em- 
bodied under a system of government which secures 
a perfect equality of right and power to every mem- 
ber, male and female — properly speaking, an ecclesi- 
astical democracy in the most extensive sense of the 
word." 

True to his student and publicist habits, Soule in 
this letter enters into an analysis of the causes of 
these disturbances, which causes in their incipiency 
went back several years. He had observed to Bishop 
McKendree at the time of his first settlement in New 
York as Book Steward "that serious and very un- 
pleasant results await us in this city." He heard 
irresponsible mutterings against Church administra- 
tions. From discontented preachers the spirit of dis- 
loyalty had sifted into the thoughts of the laity, large 
numbers of whom had rebelled against almost every 
form of discipline. As a consequence, the prosperity 
of the societies had been threatened. Thus matters 
stood when reports came from Baltimore touching the 
debates on the presiding eldership and the action sus- 
pending the resolutions. There was more or less 
strife and contention everywhere. It separated friends 
and estranged brethren who had before lived in close 
confidence. It burst like a storm over the head of the 
venerable senior bishop; even he could not be spared. 
The Methodism of the metropolis became the low^ 
II 



162 Life of Joshua Soule. 

pressure center of the ecclesiastical barometer. Al- 
though Soule was so cordially welcomed, the disaf- 
fected partisans in the local societies took advantage 
of a prejudice against him to foment and effect dis- 
union. 

In response to a call from Soule, Bishop McKen- 
dree in 1821 made a visit to New York, and the two 
together succeeded in largely allaying the feverish 
discontent which had been engendered by the after- 
math of General Conference debates. It is likely that 
after the painful blood-letting which the New York 
societies involuntarily submitted to, they enjoyed a 
surer prosperity and that a more certain peace settled 
upon them. This is borne out by a statement found 
in Dr. Bangs's "History," in which he says : "There 
was also a good work (in 1822) in the city of New 
York, about three hundred being added to the Church. 
This was encouraging to those who had mourned over 
the departure of so many two years before." The 
revival which brought this large and fresh ingathering 
occurred near the close of Soule's second year in the 
city. That year he had for one of his colleagues in 
the station the seraphic John Summerfield, a native 
of England, whose fame for eloquence and power in 
preaching was soon to spread almost as widely as had 
that of Whitefield, but which was not to endure so long. 
His brilliant career ended in death in 1825. 

Ecclesiastical "giraffing" was unknown to the Meth- 
odism of the early decades of the nineteenth century. 
There was too nearly a parity of station to permit of 
self- or place-seeking on a large scale. In those days 
it was the transfer who was commiserated. Now it 



Doubly Called. 163 

is too often the case that success is measured by the 
ability to become a "shooting star." Unsolicited ne- 
cessity made Joshua Soule a transfer in 1816. In 
1822 the same necessity came upon him — he was 
episcopally ordered to Baltimore. Of this he informed 
Bishop McKenlree in a letter written some time in the 
spring of that year. "You were apprised," he writes, 
"that I had received instructions from Bishop George 
to remove to the Baltimore Conference at its next 
session. No appointment could please me better, and 
such removal I contemplate with the highest satisfac- 
tion. But if I have not communicated the same in 
substance before, I desire that it may be explicitly un- 
derstood by you and Bishop George that I make no 
claim by virtue of those instructions, and hold myself 
in constant readiness to serve in any section of the 
work which may be considered most conducive to the 
general good. I say this that both yourself and Bishop 
George may feel at perfect liberty with respect to my 
future sphere of labor, any previous instructions to 
the contrary notwithstanling." 

It is not difficult to understand that the man who 
could thus absolutely submit himself "as a son in the 
gospel" to authority and direction could in the same 
spirit of loyalty put aside "the honor of a miter." 
What is more, the final defeat of a man of that stamp 
and spirit is to be written amongst the things that 
heaven has made impossible. 

In the Baltimore Conference Soule assumed an atti- 
tude of great caution, and all but declined to discuss 
current issues in the Church. Devoting himself to 
his pastoral duties, he left outside matters to tnke 



164 Life of Joshua Soule. 

their course. The leader to whom it is given to deter- 
mine the destinies of men is not a gossip nor a brawl- 
er. He speaks, on occasion, fitting words for strength, 
conviction, and seasonableness, and is then silent until 
occasion again makes utterance imperative. During 
the year 1823 a rumor gained currency that, on ac- 
count of the tension produced by the pendency of the 
"suspended resolutions," a split in the Church was im- 
minent. Bishop George shared the fear expressed by 
many. Henry Smith, a member of the Baltimore Con- 
ference, a man of strength and prudence, and in the 
previous year traveling companion to Bishop McKen- 
dree, undertook at this time to secure expressions of 
opinion and judgment from the leading preachers of 
his Conference. He of course addressed his inquiry 
to Mr. Soule, but in his reply, as Smith reports, "he 
was cautious, for the time had nearly come when it 
might be said: 'Trust ye not in any brother in Church 
government.' " 

But Soule was not to be left to the enjoyment and 
protection of his self-imposed silence. Near the close 
of his second year of service in the Baltimore Confer- 
ence a paper was put in circulation addressed to the 
members of that body, and dealing with the stalking 
pestilence of the "suspended resolutions." The author 
of this address was John Emory, the framer of the 
"suspended resolutions" in the shape in which they had 
finally been passed by the General Conference. In 
addition to the name of Emory, the names of Albert 
Griffith, Gerrard Morgan, and Beverly Waugh were 
attached to this address. When the document came 
into the hands of Soule, he saw at once that it was 



Doubly Called. 165 

meant to bring into question his own motives and acts 
in connection with the incidents of 1820. I have been 
unable to find a copy of this address or even to se- 
cure enough information concerning it to make a 
summary of its charges or implications. Dr. Arm- 
strong, in his "History of the Baltimore Conference," 
does not even refer to it; but Dr. (now Bishop) Denny, 
a former member of that Conference and thoroughly 
familiar with its history, has collated all the facts. 
From a most instructive and eloquent sketch of the life 
of Bishop Soule from his pen in the July, 1907, number 
of the Methodist Review I quote in continuing the 
history of this incident: 

The Baltimore Conference met in Winchester, Va., April 
8, 1824, Bishop George presiding. There were eighty-two 
preachers present, an unusually large number for that time. 
On the first day, under the then twelfth question, "Are all 
the preachers blameless in life and conversation?" the name 
of Soule was called. Some one answered : "Nothing against 
him." Instantly Soule was on his feet, and, holding up the 
pamphlet signed by Griffith, Morgan, Waugh, and Emory, 
said: "Yes, there is." He would not allow his character to 
pass till the issue raised in that address was settled. He, 
in fact, arrested his own character. He declined to allow it 
to pass till the writer of the pamphlet was present. The 
Minutes show that "when the name of Joshua Soule was 
called, at his own request his case was laid over." On the 
following Thursday it was taken up, "having been laid over 
until the arrival of J. Emory." On Friday his case was re- 
sumed, and Soule stated that "he considered his character 
had been implicated by various publications, especially by a 
publication signed by several members of this Conference." 
He addressed the Conference at considerable length, and was 
followed by Emory in reply. Soule's character was then 
passed. From another source it is learned that Soule's 



1 66 Life of Joshua Soule. 

speech on this occasion was thrilling, and "so triumphant that 
the parties retracted their accusation and confessed that they 
had done him an injury." 

Rev. Henry Smith, from whom I have already- 
quoted, and who is very freely drawn upon by Dr. 
Armstrong in his "History of the Baltimore Confer- 
ence," gives an interesting account of an attempt on 
the part of the constitutionalists to take snap judg- 
ment on their antagonists in the election of General 
Conference delegates. When Smith informed Soule 
of this plan, he expressed strong disapproval of it. 
He thought, however, that a meeting might be held 
for exchange of views and fixing upon men to repre- 
sent them in General Conference. He nevertheless 
felt that it would be "love's labor lost." To him the 
outlook was distinctly discouraging. But despite the 
disfavor with which Soule regarded the proposed meet- 
ing, it (or one of similar character) was held. The 
other side also met with the same intent and purpose. 
The result of the elections in the Conference was 
that "only old side men of the right stamp" were se- 
lected. The name of Joshua Soule appears fourth in 
the list of thirteen principal delegates. Not one of 
the signers of the anti-Soule pamphlet was elected, 
though at least three of them were amongst the lead- 
ing members of the Conference, and two of them 
afterwards became bishops. The result of the ballot 
caused great rejoicing with the majority, but was a 
bitter mortification to the electionists. 

The Baltimore Conference at this session enter- 
tained a distinguished guest, Rev. Richard Reece, the 
first regularly appointed fraternal delegate from the 



Doubly Called. 167 

British to the American Conference. He had ar- 
rived in this country some days before, and had ac- 
cepted an invitation to visit this sitting of the oldest 
of the American yearly Conferences. He listened, as 
Smith informs us, to a debate in the Conference be- 
tween Soule and Emory in which the polemical com- 
batants "put forth all their strength." 

The General Conference of 1824 was now but a 
fortnight away, and it had already been ascertained 
that a majority of the delegates chosen were opposed 
to the contemplated alterations in the government. 
And what had been the result of Bishop McKendree's 
appeal to the Annual Conferences? This appeal or 
address, which has been characterized as "one of the 
most important documents of our constitutional his- 
tory," concludes, in part, with these strong words : 

From the preachers collectively both the General Confer- 
ence and General Superintendents derive their powers ; and 
to the Annual Conferences jointly is reserved the power of 
recommending a change in our constitution. To you, there- 
fore, your Superintendent not only submits the case, but he 
would advise you to adopt such measures as you in your 
judgment may deem most prudent, by which to recognize 
the adoption of the change proposed in the resolutions, con- 
formably to the provision in the sixth Article of the consti- 
tution. Not that he believes the change would be an im- 
provement of our system of government, or that it would fully 
answer the expectations of its advocates, but as an accom- 
modating measure, on the utility of which men equally wise 
and good may, in some degree, differ in opinion. . . . With 
your recommendation and instructions, your representatives 
in the General Conference may act as they may judge most 
for the glory of God and the good of his Church. Thus in- 
troduced, the case would commend and establish the consti- 
tution, and form an effectual barrier against any future in- 



168 Life of Joshua Souk. 

fringement of the bulwark of our rights and liberties. This 
advice flows neither from the fear of frowns nor a desire of 
ease, honor, or profit. Let me be anything or nothing in these 
respects, so the work of the Lord may prosper. 

This address being submitted to each of the Annual 
Conferences in turn, beginning with the Ohio Confer- 
ence in September, 1821, the following result was 
noted — namely: Of the twelve Annual Conferences 
then constituting the connection, seven "judged the 
'suspended resolutions' unconstitutional," and yet au- 
thorized the ensuing General Conference, as far as it 
could do so, to adopt them without alteration ; "but 
the other five," to continue in Bishop McKendree's own 
words, "in which the steady friends and most power- 
ful advocates of the proposed resolutions were found, 
refused to act on the address." Every Southern Con- 
ference except the Baltimore declared the resolutions 
unconstitutional, and Baltimore elected a solid dele- 
gation of "old-timers," including one of its newest 
transfers, Joshua Soule. Thus it was that the "fa- 
ther of the constitution," himself a Puritan, became 
closely identified with the stock and the ideals of the 
Cavaliers and Huguenots. 

Thus I have rapidly, and also with as much fullness 
as the scope of this work permits, traced the events of 
a most turbulent period of American Methodist his- 
tory as these events relate to or were influenced by 
the words and actions of the subject of my sketch. 
It is one of the most interesting and instructive pas- 
sages in the body of human actions in general. It 
now only remains that the climacteric touch be added 
to round the chapter to its proper close. The General 



Doubly Called. 169 

Conference of 1824 sat in Baltimore, its opening session 
falling on the first day of May. On Saturday, May 
22, as the Journal shows, D. Young introduced the 
following resolution — viz. : 

Whereas a majority of the Annual Conferences have judged 
the resolutions making the presiding elders elective, and 
which were passed and then suspended at the last General 
Conference, unconstitutional ; therefore 

Resolved, That the said resolutions are not of authority, 
and shall not be carried into effect. 

On Monday, May 24, the motion being called up 
for final disposition, the vote was taken by ballot, with 
the result that sixty-three members voted affirmative- 
ly and sixty-one negatively. The verdict of the An- 
nual Conferences against the suspended resolutions 
was thus completed by a majority vote of the general 
body. We may so far anticipate as to say that this 
General Conference having referred the suspended 
resolutions to the General Conference of 1828 as un- 
finished business, that body finally disposing of them by 
declaring that they were "rescinded and made void." 

His friends having with his own invaluable aid won 
a complete constitutional victory on the point so long 
at issue, the way was now open for Joshua Soule to 
accept ordination as a Methodist bishop. He could 
now wear the "miter" with "honor." Accordingly, on 
May 26, 1824, the election being called, on the second 
ballot he received sixty-five out of one hundred and 
twenty-eight votes, and was declared elected. 

Doubly called of his brethren, he entered upon an 
episcopate that was to extend through forty-three 
eventful and laborious years. 



CHAPTER XI. 

Four Times Four. 

Although the principles, fitness, and personal for- 
tunes of Joshua Soule had triumphed, and the position 
he now occupied and the recognition he now enjoyed 
were such as any man of consecration and honor 
might covet, he had yet before him a season — an age, 
as the sensitive soul measures such things — in which 
he was to feel the attritions of prejudice and contend 
with the jealousies of men both small and great. 
Slowly and surely, however, partisan and personal 
oppositions gave way before a self-mastered spirit 
and the consecration of a saintly walk. When four 
times four — the years of four quadrenniums or Meth- 
odist olympiads — had passed over his head, he stood 
forth not only with ripened powers and catholic sen- 
sibilities, but with an official and personal influence 
rarely attained even in the great office of the Metho- 
dist episcopacy. To trace as definitely and as fully 
as we may the events which concern his life story 
during those sixteen years is to be our business in the 
present chapter. 

There were now five Methodist bishops, the great- 
est number the connection had ever had at one time. 
The fifth member of the college, Elijah Hedding, was 
elected on the fourth ballot at the time of the second 
election of Joshua Soule. He was a native of New 
York, but had given the most of his life to New En- 
(170) 



Four Times Four. 171 

gland. He is described as being a large and venerable- 
looking man. He was much revered for his wisdom, 
piety, and fidelity to duty. As a bishop he was popu- 
lar, and lived and died in great honor. 

Since there were now in office four effective general 
superintendents, it was understood that Bishop Mc- 
Kendree was to be released from the responsibility of 
attending the Annual Conferences or taking up any 
episcopal duty except such as his health might com- 
fortably or safely permit. The four effective bishops 
divided the work of the connection amongst them in 
this way: Bishops George and Hedding took the East- 
ern and Northern Conferences, while to Bishops Rob- 
erts and Soule were assigned the Southern and West- 
ern sittings. After two years the order of this plan 
was to be reversed. 

The first episcopal labors of Bishop Soule were to 
be given to the Conferences in the West. For this 
and other reasons he resolved to make his home in the 
State of Ohio. In the summer following the General 
Conference of 1824, with his family, and accompa- 
nied by Bishop McKendree and his traveling compan- 
ion, Rev. J. B. Crist, he started for his new home 
and the scenes of his new labors. Numerous halts 
were made on the long journey, and the two bishops 
took turns at preaching to large and eager congre- 
gations gathered to hear them. The particular ob- 
ject of the senior bishop in making the journey was 
to visit and inspect the Wyandotte Indian Missions 
which had been established by him in the States of 
Ohio and Indiana. Together the bishops visited the 
settlements of the Indians, and were surprised and de- 



172 Life of Joshua Soule. 

lighted at the progress of the gospel amongst them. 
Bishop Soule preached to the tribe through an inter- 
preter, and was so much impressed by the vision of 
those strangely inquiring faces upturned to him under 
the leaves of the summer forests that a memory of it 
lingered with him through his after life. 

Bishop Roberts joined the episcopal party at the 
session of the Ohio Conference, and from there the 
three went to the session of the Kentucky Conference 
at Shelbyville. After this Bishops McKendree and 
Soule rode together to the seat of the Missouri Con- 
ference at Padfields, in Illinois. From that pioneer 
outpost they turned on their track and met the Ten- 
nessee Conference at Columbia. Winter having come 
on, and Bishop McKendree being extremely feeble, 
he turned in for a season of rest in the home of his 
brother, Dr. James McKendree, in Sumner County; 
while Bishop Soule, leaving him there, rode away to 
the seat of the Mississippi Conference at Tuscaloosa, 
Ala. As was the rule, Bishops Soule and Roberts pre- 
sided jointly at this Conference. In the "History of. 
Methodism in Mississippi," by Rev. John G. Jones, 
this brief sketch of the two superintendents is given: 

Bishop Soule was the embodiment of episcopal dignity, and 
seldom if ever indulged in anything like humor in connection 
with the business of an Annual Conference. Bishop Roberts 
was smartly spiced with innocent and useful wit and humor, 
and often in this way poured oil on the troubled waters of 
an earnest debate or relieved the embarrassed feelings of some 
timid speaker. 

At the South Carolina, the Virginia, and the North 
Carolina Conferences the new bishop was amongst 



Four Times Four. 173 

close friends and men who ardently sympathized with 
his sacrifices and renunciations of previous years. 
Whether or not the knowledge of these affinities was 
a determinative in settling the arrangements of the 
bishops for the first two years of the quadrennium 
cannot now be determined; but however that may be, 
Joshua Soule found himself with his own. In the 
bosom of this fellowship he lingered and was rested 
from the weariness of his protracted labors. 

The presidency in the early days of April of the 
Baltimore Conference completed his first round. Dr. 
Armstrong in the "History of the Baltimore Confer- 
ence," referring to this visit, says: 

Seventy-nine preachers assembled in Baltimore an April 
6, 1825, under the presidency of Bishop Soule. . . . The 
action of the preceding General Conference appears to have 
produced a lull in the agitation of controverted questions. 
It was the calm, however, before the storm. 

This quadrennium was destined to be an era of 
radicalism and of extravagant demands by the laity 
and local preachers. Moved by the debates over the 
suspended resolutions, the latter began to clamor for 
an increased share in the government of the Church. 
The center of this activity was Baltimore, where a pe- 
riodical was printed and where sundry conventions 
were held. From the view-point of to-day those 
early demands of the laity and the local preachers 
were not essentially unreasonable; they have all since 
been granted. But the movement for change was 
embodied in radicalism. It was influenced by feelings 
of prejudice against authority as constituted. It took 
no account of the laws of evolution and sequence. 



174 Life of Joshua Soule. 

Neither was it, as it appears, the voice of the major- 
ity, but rather the confused cry of a faction, the al- 
ways dangerous organ of radicalism. 

The rather remote result of the agitation of this 
era was the organization, in 1830^ of the Methodist 
Protestant Church, a healthy and happy solution of 
many of the difficulties which had been created. This 
body of Wesleyans has at all times preached a sound 
gospel, stood in defense of the doctrines of Metho- 
dism, and manifested a tolerant and catholic spirit. 

The presence of Joshua Soule in the episcopacy at 
this time has more and more the aspect of a special 
providence. Hedding had, it is freely charged, leaned 
toward the contentions of the reformers, as the rad- 
icals were generally called. "Bishop George, in ju- 
dicial weakness, and Bishop Roberts, by amiable ir- 
resolution, in the primary movement had let the ship 
drive." Neither was a Church statesman and, though 
both were admittedly men of deep piety and high 
character, neither had any genius for affairs. Let us 
suppose that in the face of the conditions prevailing 
a radical had been elected to the episcopacy in 1820; 
the disastrous consequences can hardly be imagined. 
There would have been no declination of the high 
office of superintendent, and of course no other official 
protest against the resolutions than that offered by 
Bishop McKendree. As a consequence the radical 
resolutions would not have been "suspended," but 
put immediately into operation. The constitution, be- 
ing once breached, would likely have crumbled before 
new and more determined attacks. What if Soule 
had not found that one necessary vote on the second 



Four Times Four. 175 

ballot in 1824? An anti-constitutionalist had gone 
into office in his stead, and McKendree, in feebleness 
extreme, had been left to wage the contest alone. 
That Methodism has been providentially guided 
through the years of its history these events abun- 
dantly show. In the study of these events the Meth- 
odist churchman of the present day may gain much 
profit. 

From the session of the Baltimore Conference the 
weary and spirit-tried Soule slipped away to his home 
in Ohio, where he found a little rest until his labors 
with the Western Conference should begin anew. 

It is now impossible, as it would be to a degree un- 
profitable, to follow the horseback advances of this 
early nineteenth century bishop through his extended 
see, embracing prairies, mountains, swamps, pine bar- 
rens, shorelands, and valleys. It was the old track 
of Asbury, but how changed, even in these dozen 
years ! Interminable links of meadows and farms, 
villages, cities, groaning quays, and falling forests 
marked the reaches where Asbury met silence and na- 
ture's unbroken reign. 

A noteworthy incident opens the narrative for the 
year 1826. With Bishop McKendree, Soule presided 
over the Virginia Conference at Portsmouth, the ses- 
sion beginning February 15. There was initiated the 
movement for the founding of a high-grade literary 
institution, out of which movement grew the founda- 
tion of the present Randolph-Macon College. With 
the knowledge that most of our Church schools and 
colleges have their roots so deeply set in our history, 
it is surprising to hear in this day of secular ideals 



176 Life of Joshua Soule. 

that by invoking the rule of Corban they may be 
removed from the Church's life and authority. 

We have seen how dear to the heart of Bishop 
Soule was the memory of his part in the organization 
of the General Missionary Society. On May 15 the 
seventh anniversary of the society was observed in a 
service in historic John Street Chapel. In this meet- 
ing, presided over by Bishop McKendree, Soule and 
the other distinguished founder, Nathan Bangs, with 
Hedding, Wilbur Fisk, and Freeborn Garrettson, took 
part. 

The unity of the episcopacy has been from the be- 
ginning a cardinal tenet in Methodist polity. Asbury 
and Whatcoat, and then Asbury and McKendree, had 
lived and wrought together as one soul. McKendree 
and Soule were so knit together in thought and de- 
sire that they usually made one utterance. But from 
the beginning McKendree and his colleagues, George 
and Roberts, and particularly the former, were sel- 
dom able to see eye to eye; nevertheless, they wrought 
together as yokefellows. In the trying times now on 
the Church the necessity for a singleness of purpose 
in the episcopacy was great. To effect this unity it 
was arranged that the bishops should meet yearly 
for the purpose of considering the whole work, agree- 
ing on general policies and discharging such duties 
as required their joint action. The first of these 
meetings was held in Philadelphia April 13-18, 1826. 
Bishops George and Hedding were at the time pre- 
siding over the Philadelphia Conference. Bishops Mc- 
Kendree and Soule came up from the South. The 
minutes of the meeting show that Bishop Roberts was 



Four Times Four. 177 

absent. The bishops' meeting became at once, and has 
ever since continued to be, an important function of 
Church administration. 

It cannot be said, however, that this first meeting 
of the bishops accomplished much or gave great prom- 
ise of future accord. A delegate to the British Con- 
ference was to be elected, but on a suitable person 
the bishops could not agree, and that matter had to 
be decided by the next General Conference. Also 
the proposal of the senior bishop for Bishops George 
and Hedding to take the Western and Southern Con- 
ferences, exchanging with Bishops Roberts and Soule, 
was declined by the first two. Soule therefore con- 
tinued on the Southern and Western circuit. Not for 
years after his election was he once in charge of the 
more northern and New England Conferences, and 
Hedding remained a stranger to the Methodists of 
the South. Thus early did the lines of sectionalism 
begin to show. Soule became a Southerner by affilia- 
tion and the law of gravity. 

The barbs of criticism which pricked the sensibili- 
ties of the silent and self-contained ecclesiastic were 
occasionally transformed into the sword edge of a de- 
termined judgment. At the session of the South Caro- 
lina Conference held at Augusta, Georgia, January 11, 
1827, Bishop Soule preached "a very popular ser- 
mon" on "The Perfect Law of Liberty," and at the 
request of the Conference the same was printed. Ever- 
watchful eyes were following his daily acts and words. 
It soon began to be charged in a more or less public 
way that the teaching of this sermon was unsound in 
some of its main points, particularly as to the duty of 
12 



178 Life of Joshua Soule. 

Christians to observe the Sabbath. The names of 
Wilbur Fisk and John Emory were prominently con- 
nected with these charges, and it has been frankly 
averred that their purpose was to remove Soule from 
the episcopacy. It may be doubted that they cher- 
ished so extreme a purpose, but that they desired to 
see him reprimanded or otherwise seriously disciplined 
there can be no doubt. These charges gaining cur- 
rency, the Southern and Western Conferences, par- 
ticularly the former, came to the Bishop's defense in 
a determined way. The South Carolinians, led by Dr. 
Capers, threw down a challenge to the Bishop's ac- 
cusers. The Mississippi Conference, where the Bish- 
op presided and preached, probably repeating the 
South Carolina discourse, in the following autumn 
gave it out that the Bishop's orthodoxy went without 
question. At the General Conference the matter took 
shape in the hands of his critics. A member of the 
New England Conference had been expelled for het- 
erodox teachings — teachings not different from those 
sought to be fixed upon Soule. The expelled New 
Englander appealed to the General Conference. The 
case was discussed by Fisk, Emory, and others, and the 
brilliant orations of Fisk were seen by Soule's friends 
to be an unconcealed purpose to bring the sermon of 
the Bishop before an inquisitorial board of the Con- 
ference. The New England case being affirmed, a 
resolution was offered by L. McCoombs and T. Mer- 
ritt (the latter Soule's old-time colleague) to the ef- 
fect that the General Conference go at once into an 
investigation of the charge of heresy brought against 
the Bishop. 



Four Times Four. 179 

In the meantime Bishop Soule, still keeping silence, 
caused printed copies of his discourse to be laid upon 
the seats of the delegates, that each might read and 
judge for himself. The resolution of inquisition be- 
ing referred to the Committee on Episcopacy, that 
committee on the following day submitted a report 
entirely exculpating the Bishop from the charge of 
heresy or of teaching any doctrine inconsistent with 
the Articles of Religion. This sermon, which was 
sought in those exciting days to be relegated to the 
index expurgatorius, was in later years printed in full 
in the Methodist Pulpit, South, a classic publication, 
now an heirlooom in many a Methodist library. 

The charges sought to be established against Bishop 
Soule's orthodoxy marked the highest point of ex- 
citement and party contention in the General Confer- 
ence of 1828. Otherwise it was a conservative body, 
and its proceedings were characterized by displays 
of mutual confidence, brotherly love, and unselfish 
consideration for the interests of the Church. The 
"suspended resolutions" were finally disposed of, as we 
have seen. The demands of the local preachers and 
laity were dealt with in a paper written by John 
Emory breathing temperate, kindly sentiments, but 
firmly pointing out the way of conciliation and agree- 
ment. The General Conference was sitting in Pitts- 
burg, Pennsylvania, a city of the prophetic West, and 
in that fact the delegates read an inspiring pledge for 
Methodism. A new era had dawned. 

The broad and tolerant spirit with which this Con- 
ference began and closed its work was emphasized in 
the amicable way in which provision was made for 



180 Life of Joshua Soule. 

the separation into a new jurisdiction of the Confer- 
ence in Canada. This action had a historic bearing 
on the great "separation" of 1844 and on the attitude 
of Bishop Soule in that crucial time. But all this 
will be discussed in a later and more pertinent con- 
nection. 

In the summer succeeding the General Conference 
death visited the ranks of the episcopacy. On Au- 
gust 23, while sojourning in Staunton, Va., Bishop 
George expired in the sixty-first year of his age. Bish- 
op George was a man of deep piety, very simple in 
his manners, and a strong and even powerful preach- 
er. He seems never to have acquired a very safe 
knowledge of men, and was a stranger to the diploma- 
cies of the world. The mistakes into which he fell are 
attributable more to this lack of insight on the one hand 
and of a worldly-wise outlook on the other than to the 
absence of sincerity or genuineness from his motive. 
He was a frank and open opponent, never hiding his 
purposes in doubtful words. When he blundered, it was 
done honestly. He was genuinely lamented in death. 
His removal laid heavy burdens on his colleagues, and 
the greater weight fell on the shoulders of the young- 
est and strongest — Joshua Soule. 

An impressive physical presence is a happy accom- 
paniment of intellectual individuality. All classes of 
people were constantly impressed with the mark of 
nobility which nature had put upon the form and fea- 
tures of Joshua Soule. In the autumn of 1829, while 
on his way to the seat of the Holston Conference at 
Abingdon, Va., he halted for the night at a wayside 
tavern. The porter of the establishment was a young 



Four Times Four. 181 

and typical Irishman, who, in the absence of the pro- 
prietor, received the guest. On returning to the prem- 
ises and learning that a stranger had arrived, the land- 
lord asked: "Who is it, Pat?" "Sure, sor," returned 
the porter, "an' Oi don't roightly know; but Oi'll 
stake me faith that he's ayther a bishop or a gineral, 
sor." 

At a still more Southern Conference in the same 
year the feeling got abroad that the new bishop, being 
from New England, would naturally be loaded with 
"Yankee notions'' and be out of harmony with his 
Southern fellows ; but long before he had finished the 
work of the session they voted him the frankest, most 
natural, as also "the greatest and most affectionate" 
of men. 

As a characteristic incident of Bishop Soule's ex- 
perience during the quadrennium between 1828 and 
1832 may be cited his visit to the Baltimore Confer- 
ence in 1830. The body sat in the historic old Light 
Street Church on March 10. It was at the height of 
the "reform" movement, but the controversy was now 
no longer inside the Conference. "Great peace and 
unanimity of feeling prevailed" therein, though "a 
few cases of trying character occurred." The Itiner- 
ant, a local Church journal, gave this account of the 
services of the Sabbath : 

On Sunday the weather was unusually fine, and a scene of 
more than ordinary interest was presented to many of the 
friends of religion in Baltimore. Several clergymen of other 
Churches politely tendered their houses of worship for the 
services of the Methodist preachers, and we believe that be- 
tween forty and fifty officiated in the different congregations 



182 Life of Joshua Soule. 

during the day. Bishop Soule delivered at Caroline Street 
Church in the morning a most interesting and impressive 
discourse on "The Authority and Duties of the Christian 
Ministry," after which he ordained eleven deacons. The ser- 
mon was alike eloquent and able, and furnished a striking 
specimen of that boldness and depth of thought and original, 
just, and energetic application of it for which, we believe, Mr. 
Soule is distinguished. The congregation, though overflow- 
ing, was serious and attentive throughout the discourse, and 
at times many were deeply affected. The Bishop himself wept 
when he touched upon the extent of the commission and the 
promise, "Lo, I am with you," and seemed to regret that he 
could not call back the days of youth and devote another life 
to the preaching of the gospel. Deep, we believe, was the con- 
viction felt by many that eloquence more than human was 
there, and that God of a truth was in his holy temple to 
bless the administration of his word. 

During all these years the Bishop's home was at 
Lebanon, Ohio, and much of the time he was dis- 
tressed by afflictions in his family. Several of his 
children were of delicate frame and suffered much 
from disease. One can imagine what heaviness of 
longing he must, have carried about in his continent- 
wide wanderings as he remembered the lonely wife 
and her cares of love and responsibility. 

In the autumn of 183P, as had been the pleasant 
fortune of former years, Bishops Soule and McKendree 
met at several of the Western and Southern Confer- 
ences. Before me is an autograph letter from Bish- 
op McKendree, dated at Fountain Head, Tenn., the 
home of his brother, Dr. James McKendree, in which 
he refers to these meetings and also to his fast-fail- 
ing health. This reference to his growing physical 
weakness was evidently meant to introduce the ven- 



Four Times Four. 183 

erable Bishop's plan for bequeathing his small earthly 
accumulations "to the support of the gospel committed 
to the itinerants." This letter of confidence between 
men who lived with but one thought contains a sen- 
tence which the men of this day may profitabley pon- 
der. "Should our itinerant plan," writes McKendree, 
"with an effective general superintendency, remain aft- 
er the next General Conference, I now intend to trans- 
fer my care in the management and my responsibility 
in the appropriation of what I am providentially pos- 
sessed of to them [i. e., the preachers] and trust in 
the Lord." Even at that day McKendree had fears 
that the spirit of radicalism might successfully assert 
itself in the alteration of the fundamentals of Metho- 
dist polity. The cavils and criticisms of to-day are 
mild compared with those that fretted the reverend 
ears of the immediate successor of Asbury. A com- 
panion document to the letter above described is the 
original copy of a resolution offered in the Illinois 
Conference as the result of a suggestion from Bishop 
Soule outlining a plan for applying the bequest of 
Bishop McKendree, then deceased, for the benefit of 
an institution of learning for the joint use of the Illi- 
nois and Missouri Conferences. It was not only an 
act of official duty, but a fealty of love and friendship 
that made Soule desire to see the bequest of his de- 
parted father and colleague handled so as to count to 
the uttermost. But the record of this bequest has put 
us some years ahead of the current of our story. 

The General Conference of 1832 convened in Phila- 
delphia, the scene of the first Methodist Conference 
ever held in America, in 1773.- The opening exercises 



184 Life of Joshua Soule. 

were conducted by Bishop Soule, who also read the 
Episcopal Address, of which he was the author, as he 
had been of the one submitted to the General Confer- 
ence four years before. This address particularly 
called the attention of the Conference to the subject 
of missions and temperance and to the necessity of 
strengthening the episcopacy in view of the death of 
Bishop George and the enlargement of the work. The 
Committee of Episcopacy recommended the election 
of two additional bishops, and, on the twenty-second 
day of the sitting, the vote being taken, James O. 
Andrew and John Emory were elected on the first 
ballot, the former receiving 140 votes and the latter 
135 out of a total of 223 cast. Bishop Andrew and 
Bishop Soule were to repeat in their close episcopal 
and personal affiliation the confidence which the for- 
mer had sustained with Bishop McKendree. In a time 
to come they were also to suffer together for a cause 
not unlike that first to which Soule had offered as a 
sacrifice his first great renunciation. Emory was his 
old antagonist on many a field of debate and conten- 
tion, but Soule received his new colleague as a brother 
and took him to his heart. The friendship which sub- 
sisted between them was genuine, and the time came 
when Emory fully confessed to Soule his conviction 
that in the old-time issues which they had joined his 
colleague was right, and by his course had saved the 
Church. 

The General Conference of 1832 is notable as a 
session pervaded by the spirit of fellowship and good 
will; there were no factions in the body. The ghost 
of partisanship seems to have fled the scene entirely. 



Four Times Four. 185 

It was Bishop McKendree's last General Conference. 
Feeble and leaning on his staff, he blessed his sons and 
committed to them the inheritance which he had so 
long guarded with vigilance and devotion. The Con- 
ference completed the action necessary to settle in the 
constitution the proviso giving the Annual Conferences 
jointly with the General Conference power to alter 
any of the restrictive rules except the first. It also 
recommended a decrease in the ratio of representation 
from the Annual Conferences, and recognized the 
right of fractional constituencies to representation. 
The adjournment was taken amid conditions of peace 
and hopefulness. 

As in other quadrenniums since his election, the 
labors of Bishop Soule were confined largely to the 
South and West. In the autumn of 1834 he presided 
over the Ohio Conference at Circleville, at which ses- 
sion an interesting affair came up which fully illus- 
trates the character of Soule for courage and faithful- 
ness to conviction. The history of the incident has 
been preserved to us by one of the parties chiefly inter- 
ested. Jacob Young, who had been friendly and even 
helpful to the Bishop, sought to> use his influence in 
a somewhat irregular way. In fine, he desired a cer- 
tain appointment made which both the Bishop and his 
advisers disapproved of. Discovering this opposition, 
he sought to have the Conference ask for the appoint- 
ment. The Bishop put the question, but took occasion 
to say to the body : "It makes no difference which way 
you vote, I shall not make the appointment." "Pope" 
was the epithet which Young and his partisans visited 
upon the Bishop. Perhaps many like charges are as 



1 86 Life of Joshua Soule. 

groundless as was this. A fiery Virginia itinerant 
once brought against him. an accusation of partisan- 
ship and threatened to "write him up in the papers." 
"And I," replied the Bishop, "shall not write the 
scratch of a pen in answer." In every issue he pro- 
ceeded on the belief that he was to live forever and 
could afford to wait for his vindication. 

The year 1835 brought Soule the sorrow of his life. 
On March 5, at his brother's home in Sumner Coun- 
ty, Tennessee, Bishop William McKendree laid down 
his Churchly office and was gathered to the rest of 
his fathers. The second of the preeminent triumvirate 
of great American bishops was gone. The third re- 
mained to preserve the traditions of Asburian Metho- 
dism to a time beyond the sounds of strife and war. 
The might of early Methodism completed itself in As- 
bury, McKendree, and Soule. In December of the 
same year in which Bishop McKendree died Bishop 
Emory was called from his earthly labors, being killed 
in falling from his carriage. Thus was the episcopacy 
again reduced to four members; and as the health of 
both Bishop Roberts and Bishop Hedding was not ro- 
bust, the labors of the office fell heavily upon Soule 
and his younger colleague, Andrew. 

It was during this quadrennium, and chiefly in 
Soule's great diocese in the West, that the movement 
first started by Asbury and Boehm to evangelize the 
German immigrants took effective and successful 
shape. Henry Boehm lived to be more than a hundred 
years of age, dying in 1875, and was the last of the 
preachers who remembered the Christmas Confer-, 
ence and the beginnings of Episcopal Methodism. 



Four Times Four. 187 

Methodism now manifested destiny and indicated 
the course of her empire by calling the seventh Dele- 
gated General Conference (the session of 1836) to 
meet in the city of Cincinnati. To Soule the assem- 
bling of this Conference was like the coming of a guest 
to his own house, for Cincinnati was the center of the 
territory which he had mainly cultivated since his ac- 
ceptance of the episcopal office. His colleagues, Rob- 
erts, Hedding, and Andrew, were present also. The 
body was much smaller than its predecessor, owing to 
the reduced ratio of representation. Bishop McTyeire 
says that it was made up of unusually able men. 

The General Conference had not legislated on the 
subject of slavery since 1824, nor had any important 
action relating thereto been taken since the General 
Conference of 1820. That session took from the An- 
nual Conferences the right "to form their own regu- 
lations about the buying and selling of slaves." The 
Church had been living all the while under the rule 
established in 1816, which directed that "no slave- 
holder shall be eligible to any official station in our 
Church hereafter where the laws of the State in 
which he lives will admit of emancipation and permit 
the liberated slave to enjoy freedom." Abolitionism, 
or "modern abolitionism," as it was styled, was a 
new phase of the slavery agitation. It was rapidly 
becoming a political issue, but the Methodist Church 
at this time did not sympathize with the doctrine 
which its advocates preached. The general position 
of the Methodists then was: "Slavery is an evil, a 
gigantic evil ; but it is a political institution, settled in 
the constitutions of many of the States, and it is 



1 88 Life of Joshua Soule. 

therefore not within the power of the Church to alter 
these conditions. It is our duty to bear the gospel to 
master and slave alike, and to give such directions and 
make such rules as will express the ultimate of our 
power to mitigate the evil." This was the doctrine of 
Soule and those who stood with him in that day when 
calmness of thinking on this matter was both possible 
and general. 

Strongly and unqualifiedly did the General Confer- 
ence of 1836 express itself on the subject of "modern 
abolitionism." There lies before me as I write an 
original copy of the "extra" issued by the Western 
Christian Advocate, Cincinnati (Dr. Thomas A. Mor- 
ris, Editor), of the date of May 21, 1836, containing 
the anti-abolition resolutions as passed in the body by a 
vote of 122 affirmants to 11 dissidents. The extra car- 
ried a vigorous editorial venturing the hope that "an 
expression of the opinions of the General Conference 
so strong and deliberately made will have much influ- 
ence with all unreasonable brethren who have unfor- 
tunately engaged in the visionary and mischievous 
project of modern abolitionism." 

This whole question is no longer a living one, and 
nobody is more certain than is the author of this biog- 
raphy of the unprofitableness of its discussion in this 
day. But it may be remarked that it seems incredible 
that these utterances should be found in the Journal 
of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church in the United States of America only eight 
years before 1844! The times were rapidly shaping 
toward a change. 

Three additional bishops were elected at this sitting. 



Four Times Four. 189 

They were Beverly Waugh, of the Baltimore Confer- 
ence, Thomas A. Morris, of the Ohio Conference, and 
Wilbur Fisk, of the New England Conference. It 
was a trio of remarkable men ; and especially was the 
last and youngest, Wilbur Fisk, a man of most note- 
worthy character and gifts. In truth, Methodism, has 
produced in all its history few, if any, men of a finer 
mold, a loftier and more generous spirit, or a more 
genuine culture and intellectual zest. He was the 
educational leader of Methodism in the earlier decades 
of the nineteenth century. He was forty years old 
when elected. His health was feeble, and he was 
wedded to the work of an educator, and for these rea- 
sons declined consecration to the office proffered him 
by the votes of his brethren. 

Bishop Soule was for many years a sufferer from 
asthma and rheumatism, and for a long while previous 
to the General Conference of 1836 his health had been 
steadily declining. In view of this fact, the Confer- 
ence released him from the obligation to travel on full 
time and put him under orders of his own discretion. 
But he had two colleagues (Roberts and Hedding), 
who were more feeble than himself, and the work 
which his discretion or other propulsion induced him 
to undertake during the next quadrennium was by no 
means the task allotment of an invalid. Perhaps his 
greatest service to the Church during the earlier years 
of the new quadrennium was as a conciliator of dis- 
turbed sentiment on the new aspect of the old issue of 
slavery. Being a native of New England and of 
known courage and moderation, his word was usually 
accepted as oracular by both sides of the new contro- 



190 Life of Joshua Soule. 

versy. Bishop Morris appealed to him for help 
in the New Hampshire sitting in 1837, and there was 
also a need for his counsel in the West, as there was 
in the South, though it must be known that in the latter 
section the call for a moderator grew out of antipa- 
thetical sentiment. But it was this man's ability to 
command the respect and become the successful ad- 
viser of dissevered brethren that made him in that day 
a minister of providence. 

In an unpublished autograph letter from Bishop 
Waugh to Bishop Soule, written from Burlington, 
New Jersey, on May 7, 1839, I learn much that con- 
cerns the course of this story for the quadrennium. 
Bishop Soule, suffering from asthmatic trouble and 
rheumatism, had been unable to attend the bishops' 
meeting in Baltimore. Bishop Waugh wrote to con- 
sult him concerning the centenary of Methodism, the 
hundredth anniversary of the organization of the 
United Societies in England, to be celebrated that year. 
This letter also discloses the fact that abolitionism was 
greatly disturbing the Churches in New England. It 
shows further that it had been arranged for Bishop 
Soule to visit the New England and Maine Confer- 
ences at their next sittings. "Your presence and aid 
at the two Conferences, reverend and dear sir," con- 
tinues the younger colleague, "will be more than de- 
sirable ; they will be necessary. . . . Let me there- 
fore earnestly entreat you to come." The publication 
of this letter entire would be of curious interest, but 
of what use ? The memory of Soule does not need it. 
How strong and swerveless he was, and how much 
trusted he was until prejudice veiled the eyes of many, 



Four Times Four. 191 

this letter is not now needed to show. A last item in 
this communication intimates that Soule was also com- 
mitted to take a large share of the "next Southwestern 
routes" — that is, the Southern Conferences for 1839-40. 
Before the time for meeting those obligations arrived 
he had been almost perfectly restored to health and 
again, though nearing his sixtieth year, enjoyed all 
but the vigor and buoyancy of his youth. A new honor 
and an inspiring experience awaited him. 



CHAPTER XII. 
The New World's Messenger to the Old. 

The paternal concern of Wesley for his spiritual 
children in the two hemispheres caused him to make 
much of the idea of a continuous unity of Methodism. 
This thought was strong with Coke and Asbury, as 
also with their contemporaries. But though Wesley's 
thought was of a species of organic unity, time soon 
dispelled the idea as illusory and impossible. How- 
ever, a most real unity of spirit has always subsisted 
between the two great divisions of the Wesleyan fam- 
ily in the Old and the New World. The substantial 
expression of that unity has been seen in the persons 
of fraternal visitors who have since before the mid- 
dle of the last century regularly borne from one sec- 
tion to the other official greetings and served as me- 
dia for the exchange of kindred sentiments and also 
as agents for the execution of more practical com- 
missions. 

In the earlier decades of organized Methodism in 
America Dr. Coke was the normal medium — in fact, 
the living link — between the two sections, and this 
was one of the functions which gave to him the well- 
merited title of "Foreign Minister of Methodism." 
The last visit of Dr. Coke to his American brethren 
occurred during the General Conference of 1804. 
Messrs. Black and Bennett, two Wesleyan preachers 
(192) 



The New World's Messenger to the Old. 193 

in Nova Scotia, visited the General Conference of 
1816 to discuss the affairs of the Canadian stations, the 
war with Great Britain having sown the seeds of con- 
tention and estrangement between the American and 
Canadian Methodists. They were, however, not regu- 
larly commissioned delegates, and their instructions 
confined them to 1 the business matters upon which they 
had been charged. Mr. Black had indeed been present 
at the organization of the Church, in 1784, and was 
then, as in 1816, cordially received and treated as one 
of the American itinerants and not as a stranger. It 
was not until 1820 that a messenger regularly com- 
missioned was sent by the Americans to their brethren 
in Europe. In that year the General Conference ap- 
pointed Rev. John Emory, later elected to the episco- 
pacy, to visit the Wesleyan Conference in England, pri- 
marily for the purpose of adjusting the relations of the 
Canadian Societies to the two Conferences. He was 
also charged to bear to the Methodists of the British 
Isles the fraternal greetings of their brethren in Ameri- 
ca and to solicit an exchange of fraternal visits at such 
times as might prove mutually satisfactory. Mr. Em- 
ory accomplished his mission in a most creditable and 
successful manner. His visit put in motion the in- 
fluences which led finally to the establishment under 
happy conditions of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
of Canada, and also in the restoration of the old-time 
familiar relations between the American and the Eng- 
lish Conferences. 

In 1824 the Wesleyan connection made its response 
to these fraternal negotiations by sending as their 
messengers to the Americans Rev, Richard Reece 

*3 



194 Life of Joshua Soule. 

and his companion, Rev. John Hannah, each of whom 
was later honored with an election to the presidency 
of the Conference in Great Britain. 

The first regularly commissioned fraternal dele- 
gate sent by the American connection to the Mother- 
land was Dr. William Capers, elected to discharge 
that office by the General Conference of 1828. The 
call of Dr. Emory in 1820 had been largely fiscal and 
for the purpose of opening up an understanding 
touching a regular exchange of personal visitations. 
The embassy of Drs. Reece and Hannah was the first 
in the now long list of official interchanges, so that 
the visit of Dr. Capers is counted the first return from 
the American side. Dr. Capers reported at the ses- 
sion of the British Conference held in City Road 
Chapel, London, in the month of August, 1828. His 
address aroused great enthusiasm, and the Conference 
passed, in recognition of his presence, a set of reso- 
lutions couched in terms of eloquence and admiration, 
thanking him for "the great ability, Christian spirit, 
and brotherly kindness with which he had discharged 
the duties of his honorable mission." 

It was expected and greatly desired that the British 
brethren would send a representative to the American 
Conference at its sitting in Pittsburg, in 1832, but 
the failure to have this wish realized probably came 
about through an effort on the part of the Americans 
to secure in that visitor the illustrious Methodist 
scholar and commentator, Adam Clarke. It now ap- 
pears that, in pursuance of that wish, Bishop McKen- 
dree named an out-of-Conference committee to com- 
municate with him on the subject of the visit. This 



The New World's Messenger to the Old. 195 

committee consisted of Messrs. J. Emory, B. Waugh, 
N. Bangs, F. Hall, and George Suckley. The reply 
to the communication came in course. This letter 
was published by Bishop Paine in his "Life of Mc- 
Kendree," and so has become familiar to many Metho- 
dists, but the special interest which now attaches to 
it for me is that the original autograph copy lies be- 
side this page as I write. It is inscribed in a neat, 
bold hand and the letters are well formed, though 
the writer was then beyond three-score and ten. Had 
the letter reached him a few months earlier, he 
would most certainly have endeavored to meet the 
wishes of the committee, so he wrote them ; but his 
engagements were then too many and too important 
to be canceled. His age also had to be considered. 
The letter closes with felicitations and some practical 
advice to the preachers in America as coming from a 
patriarch of the Methodist family. 

In the address of the British Conference of 1835 to 
the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States 
of America it is said : 

We have a confidential agent in the Western Continent in 
the person of our beloved brother, Rev. William Lord ; an 
opportunity is thus presented for renewing the affectionate 
fraternal intercourse of the two great families of Wesleyan 
Methodism. 

There is a degree of ambiguity in this language, 
but it was evidently considered and accepted as an 
official appointment in the line of fraternal visitation. 
Dr. Wilbur Fisk, who was offered the bishopric in 
Canada and who was elected bishop in the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in the United States of America in 



196 Life of Joshua Soule. 

1836, had been traveling in Europe during parts of 
that and the previous year, and had visited the British 
Conference in the capacity of a fraternal messenger. 
Dr. Stephen Olin, who spent the years between 1839 
and 1841 traveling in Europe and the East, made a 
fraternal call upon the British Conference at its session 
at Liverpool in 1839. 

The first regular official visitor from the British 
Conference returning the call of Dr. Capers was 
not named until 1840, when the distinguished Scotch- 
English preacher and ex-President of the Conference, 
Dr. Robert Newton, was commissioned with a fra- 
ternal message to the General Conference which sat 
that year in Baltimore. The eloquent visitor was not 
only "heard with delight and profit from the pulpit 
and platform, but he preached in the open air to im- 
mense crowds, showing on a Baltimore square the se- 
cret of gospel power that had triumphed on Moorfield 
Common a hundred years before." 

After Dr. Newton had delivered his address to the 
Conference, and before his departure, it became gen- 
erally known that he had expressed the sentiment that 
it would be gratifying both to himself and to his 
brethren in Europe should the Conference see fit to 
send as the bearer of its next fraternal message Rev. 
Bishop Soule. Accordingly, on June 2 Bishop Soule 
was appointed to visit the British Conference at its 
sitting in 1842. At the Bishop's own request Rev. 
Thomas B. Sargent, a man of many attainments and a 
leader in his day, was appointed to be his traveling 
companion. The extent to which the personality and 
powers of Bishop Soule had impressed the wise and 



The New World's Messenger to the Old. 197 

pious Newton was to be repeated through the Metho- 
dist connection in England and Ireland when the great 
Methodist leader from the New World appeared in 
the two Conferences. 

The original of the passport of Bishop Soule meant 
for use on this journey is in my hands. It was issued 
in what was then a usual form by the Department of 
State at Washington City, and bears date of April 8, 
1842. It instructs "all whom it may concern to per- 
mit safely and freely to pass Bishop Joshua Soule, 
a citizen of the United States, and in case of need 
to give him all lawful aid and protection." The "de- 
scription" carried prominently on the face of the pass- 
port is interesting as giving a sort of pen portrait of 
the Bishop as he was "taken" by the officials. It is as 
follows — -viz. : 

Age, 61 years; stature, 5 feet and 11 inches; forehead, 
high ; eyes, blue ; nose, Roman ; mouth, ordinary ; chin, ditto ; 
hair, gray ; complexion, fair ; face, oval. 

The port and customs indorsement on this folio 
of parchment give us a sort of chart of the Bishop's 
journey in Europe made in connection with his official 
visit. The English customs and inspectors seem to 
have taken his papers with great deference, as no 
indorsement of an English hand is found on them ; 
but the French officials wrote upon the folio until it 
has somewhat the appearance of a palimpsest. In- 
dorsements were made at Calais, Paris, Boulogne, and 
elsewhere. Equally interesting is a companion relic 
of this passport, resting in the collection before re- 
ferred to. It is a cabin plan of the trans-Atlantic 



198 Life of Joshua Soule. 

steamer Stephen Whitney, upon which the Bishop 
made his outgoing voyage. The stateroom to be oc- 
cupied by the Bishop and his companion were care- 
fully marked with red ink, and a note was made by 
the ship house clerk on the margin showing that the 
reservation had been made for "Bishop Soule and his 
friend." Even then the Atlantic steamers (though it 
was long before the days of the modern "greyhounds") 
were an embodiment of much real comfort, and it is 
pleasant to look on this blueprint diagram of the good 
ship Stephen Whitney and think of the invigorating 
days spent by the tired Bishop and his companionable 
friend on her ample deck ways and in the wide and 
well-furnished saloons. It was then not a matter of 
four days and some hours and minutes across the At- 
lantic, but of a fortnight or more even under the power 
of steam. 

I can find no definite information as to when the 
Stephen Whitney sailed from New York, but from 
letters written by Drs. Durbin and Sewall in Paris and 
addressed to the Bishop in London, I take it that he 
was expected to reach that city somewhere near the 
first of June. Durbin and his companion were on the 
way to the Mediterranean and the East. Their let- 
ters were postmarked "Paris, June 3," and the Lon- 
don stamp shows that they reached that city on June 
11. But the Bishop and Dr. Sargent had already 
reached London and had proceeded on their way to 
Ireland. This I conclude from the fact that the pack- 
et was readdressed to Dublin. As the letter of Dr. 
Durbin forecasts somewhat the expected movements 
of the Bishop on the Continent, and as it was the first 



The New World's Messenger to the Old. 199 

literary output of a journey whose story, being written 
into several volumes, added no little to the writer's 
fame, I have decided to print it in full. It affords, in 
addition to its relation to the matters above mentioned, 
a pleasant glimpse into the experience of an American 
of the "forties" traveling in Europe. 

Paris, June 3, 1842. 
My Dear Brother: By the advice of every intelligent gentle- 
man met we have been induced to forego visiting the Irish 
Conference and the pleasure of meeting you and Dr. Sargent 
there. We have clearly ascertained that it will be impossible 
for us to see Switzerland and the Alps to advantage after the 
British Conference ; and if we go to the Irish Conference now, 
we cannot visit both Switzerland and Germany. It therefore 
becomes necessary for us to change our route and proceed 
from Paris to Switzerland, probably cross over the Alps at 
Mt. Cenis to Turin and Milan, then recross them by the 
Simplon to Geneva, thence to the Rhine, down the Rhine to 
Antwerp, and steamboat to London about the first of August. 
Then we shall have the pleasant months of August and Sep- 
tember at our command for England. When we leave En- 
gland we propose to pass through Germany by Hamburg, Leip- 
sic, Dresden, Berlin, Vienna, and thence to Italy; but fur- 
ther information may cause us to alter our plans. We have 
yielded to this the more readily as we do not know what is 
your route or how far you propose to extend it. We are not 
positive that we will proceed to Egypt. This we will determine 
when we reach London. I have seen General Cass, and he very 
strongly urges us to go to Egypt and Palestine. He has been 
over these countries. He advises us to go from Vienna to 
Constantinople down the Danube before we visit Italy, but 
of this we must consider after we reach London. Perhaps 
then your course will be fixed so that we can know how to 
proceed. 

I need not speak to you of Paris, as I suppose you will 
visit it. I have taken a good deal of pleasure in the Wesley- 



200 Life of Joshua Soule. 

an Mission, and have preached for them once. We are in ex- 
cellent health. Both Mr. Carlton and Brother Sewall have 
very much improved in appearance and health. I hope you 
will have had a short, pleasant passage, and that you are in 
fine health and spirits, and that your visit to the English 
Methodist Church may be a blessing to it and an honor to us, 
of which I cannot doubt. 

Until we see you, if the Lord will, in London, be pleased 
to accept my best wishes and earnest desire for your health 
and peace, and present us kindly to Brother Sargent. 

Your brother, John P. Durbin. 

The Rev. Bishop Joshua Soule. 

The Irish Conference met in the city of Dublin 
Friday, June 24, 1842, Rev. James Dixon, President of 
the Wesleyan Connection, presiding. This was the 
first meeting between Dr. Dixon and Bishop Soule, 
but their spirits embraced each other in the full sense 
of the kinship of greatness and deathless confidence. 
The admiration of Dr. Dixon for Bishop Soule was 
enthusiastic, and grew with the years. When a fra- 
ternal delegate to the General Conference of the Meth- 
dist Episcopal Church in the United States of America, 
in 1848, the magnet of Bishop Soule's personality not 
only drew him southward in visitation, but ravished 
anew his thoughts of admiration and respect for him. 
He wrote after his return to his own country these 
most appreciative words : 

Many of the brethren accompanied us to the vessel to bid 
us farewell. Amongst the rest was Bishop Soule. I saw 
him for the last time with an aching heart, amongst the group 
of preachers and people. It is sad to think of seeing him no 
more. I felt this keenly as I turned my eyes from him with 
the certainty that it was a final adieu. A noble man ! One 



The New World's Messenger to the Old. 201 

of the first spirits in America ! In bearing a perfect gentle- 
man, manly, courteous, and dignified; in principle, feeling, 
and demeanor a true Christian ; in character and caliber of 
mind strong, clear, masculine ; in moral force firm, unwaver- 
ing, inflexible; in official life judicious, prudent, and decided in 
his adherence to settled constitutional rule, but practical and 
wise; in evangelical toils and labors as abundant as any liv- 
ing man in the Church ; and in spirit calm, courageous, and 
active. For a fortnight I had enjoyed the happiness of 
Bishop Soule's society, and my inmost soul reverenced and 
did homage to him on taking a last look at his manly and 
venerable form. 

The appearance of Bishop Soule and his associate, 
Dr. Sargent, before the Irish Conference aroused in 
the entire body the most genuine enthusiasm and be- 
came a beginning of dates. There was something in 
the American Bishop's appearance as in his manner, 
intonations and majesty of expression that appealed 
with special directness to the Irish temperament. It 
was the measure of Celtic blood in him, and the bal- 
anced mastery and kindness of his bearing. In his 
addresses and sermons he fairly captured the multi- 
tudes, and everywhere he went in the island the most 
genuine deference was paid him. He was the first 
American Methodist bishop to visit the Old World. 
Dr. Coke was never thought of in Europe in connec- 
tion with his American episcopate, and not many of 
that generation even remembered the "Foreign Min- 
ister of Methodism." To the Irish Methodists Bish- 
op Soule was officially the same as one of the lords 
spiritual of the Anglican Establishment, and by rea- 
son of his brotherly and tender spirit he became a 
thousand times more lordly in fact. When the Bish- 



202 Life of Joshua Soule. 

op, speaking for himself and his companion, protested 
the kindness and consideration of the Conference, say- 
ing, "You have received us as angels unawares," a 
strong and heartful voice cried in response: "And 
angels you have proven yourselves to be." 

While at the session of the Irish Conference the 
Bishop heard a sorrowful note running through the 
reports concerning the net loss in the membership in 
the island. Thousands of Methodists had left the sod 
to find homes on foreign shores. By far the larger 
number of these had gone to America. The Bishop 
gave a special pledge that, inasmuch as America owed 
so much to Ireland because of her gift of Strawbridge 
and Embury, these Irish Wesleyans should be min- 
istered to in their new home. This pledge is grate- 
fully referred to in the Annual Address of the Irish 
Conference for that year. In the Address of the Brit- 
ish Conference to the Irish brethren the following elo- 
quent reference is made to the honored visitors : 

Among other incidents which have given more than ordi- 
nary interest to our present Conference, we cannot omit 
mentioning the presence and ministerial communications of 
Bishop Soule and his clerical companion, Rev. Thomas B. 
Sargent, from the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United 
States of America. From them we have had lucid and powerful 
expositions of those holy doctrines which, through the bless- 
ing of God on the preaching of the Wesleys, first raised our 
Societies into existence, and which, through the continuance 
of the same rich blessing, still nourish our people in newness 
of life. In the venerable Bishop we have discerned the same 
benignant, self-sacrificing, and undaunted spirit which animated 
the fathers of our own connection ; and from his cheering 
statements we have received ample evidence that Wesleyan 



The New World's Messenger to the Old. 203 

Methodism, though varying in some adventitious circum- 
stances, is the same in spirit, principle, and efficiency in both 
communities. 

During his entire stay at the English Conference 
the Bishop met only such treatment as his exalted 
worth and his office as the representative of the most 
numerous body of Methodists in the world merited. 
Equally with their Irish brethren the English Wes- 
leyans responded to the call of his lofty thought and 
fraternal sentiment. His Sabbath evening sermon be- 
fore the Conference made a particularly profound im- 
pression, as the following official resolution entered 
upon the Journal of the session will show : 

That the thanks of the Conference be presented to the 
Rev. Joshua Soule, D.D., one of the bishops of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in the United States of America, for the 
sermon which he delivered in City Road Chapel on Sunday 
evening, July 31 ; and that he be earnestly requested to fur- 
nish a copy of it for publication in the Magazine. 

At the Conference ordination service Bishop Soule 
was invited by the President, Dr. Hannah, to join in 
the laying on of hands. This he did, placing his 
hands on the head of each member of the class, and 
in doing so was permitted the then unrealized priv- 
ilege of assisting to consecrate the most distinguished 
and most gifted preacher that Methodist England 
knew during the latter half of the nineteenth cen- 
tury. This was William Arthur, author of "The 
Tongue of Fire" and missionary captain of the Wes- 
leyan hosts. Everywhere in England during his two 
months' stay the likeness of the American bishop to 



204 Life of Joshua Soule. 

the Iron Duke was remarked upon. This was a re- 
semblance that did not come of chance, nor yet was 
it of that class of results flowing from a like mastery 
of spirit and purpose. Like the New World bishop, 
the Old World hero was of Norman-Celtic, or, more 
correctly, of Norse-Gaelic blood, and perhaps the 
lines of their heredity approached each other more 
nearly in the age behind the days of William Rufus 
than any genealogist could now tell. The claim that 
the heredity of the Wesleys is involved in this line is 
not a groundless one. 

Before he left England Bishop Soule was asked by 
the Wesleyan Conference to sit for his portrait, and 
one of the most celebrated portrait painters of the 
realm was employed to do the work. It is doubtful 
if, in the whole history of Methodist fraternal inter- 
course, any messenger ever received such distinguished 
attentions and courtesies as were extended to Bishop 
Soule. In the Fraternal Address of the Conference 
sent the next year to the Church in America appears 
this reference to the Bishop's visit: 

The visit of your honored delegate, the venerable Bishop 
Soule, to our country was exceedingly welcome and gratify- 
ing to us. His kindly spirit in every season of our more 
private interviews with him, the lively interest which he took 
in all our concerns, whether domestic or foreign, the copious 
information with which he favored us concerning the plans, 
proceedings, and evangelical conquests of your branch of 
our Lord's universal Church, and his truly able and edifying 
public ministrations among us have left an impression on our 
minds which time will not easily efface. Long may he be 
spared in life, and blessed by our Heavenly Master as an in- 
strument of yet greater and more extensive good ! By the 



The New World's Messenger to the Old. 205 

care of divine providence he is now returned in saftey to 
your shores; and he will be able to supply you with intelli- 
gence of our movements, trials, and successes far beyond what 
we should be able to convey in any written communication. 

This is the place to insert the record of a somewhat 
incongruous matter committed to the hands of Bishop 
Soule as the American Fraternal Messenger to En- 
gland by the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Canada. 
From the moment the American Conference consented 
to the organization of the Canadian societies into an in- 
dependent body there was friction between it and the 
missionaries of the Wesleyan connection in England. 
The situation was becoming more distressful every 
year, and the encroachments of the London mission- 
aries upon the territory of their brethren went on 
without hindrance from headquarters. The British 
had in 1835 and 1836 retained Rev. William Lord 
in Canada as a confidential agent. It was thus that 
he became the fraternal visitor to the American Con- 
ference in 1836. The Canadians now besought Bishop 
Soule to use his influence while in England to secure 
an abatement of the fraternity-destroying conditions 
existing in their field. The original of the paper in 
which this request is made is before me. Its language 
is strangely like that of not a few letters from the 
border which I have met during the past twenty-five 
years in the newspapers of both Methodisms. The 
document consists of twelve legal cap pages inscribed 
in the clearest chirography and expressed in correct 
and forceful English. That the complainants had, or 
were convinced that they had, a cause, this paper 
leaves no ground for doubt. It bears the signature of 



2o6 Life of Joshua Soulc. 

the President of the Canadian Conference, Rev. W. 
Ryerson, the most capable and statesmanlike man to 
be found in the early Canadian organization. There 
is not space in this biography for the whole of this 
historic writing, but parts of it bear so directly on the 
proper subject of my story that I venture to make 
an extract or two. 

We beg most respectfully [the complainants say to Bishop 
Soule], to address you on a subject of great importance to our 
common Methodism and to its peaceful operations in upper 
Canada. We are induced to do so by our former connection 
with the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, 
by the dutiful respect we owe to our venerable fathers and 
brethren of that Church, and by the high regard we have for 
yourself personally, known as you are to possess the most 
clear and comprehensive views of the characteristic principles 
and features of Methodism and to value the inviolable main- 
tenance of them even more than your own existence. . . . Not- 
withstanding schisms created by the agents of the London 
Wesleyan Missionary Committee, we number 121 itinerant 
ministers and upward of 17,000 members. 

In 1831 and 1832 correspondence took place between our 
Missionary Board and the Wesleyan Committee in London 
on the subject of their establishing separate societies in up- 
per Canada. . . . You will perceive that our Conference 
was reduced to the alternative of having its fields of labor 
made an arena of strife or proposing some arrangement by 
which a union might be maintained.* 

*The original of this paper was in the name of the family 
of Bishop McTyeire presented by the author of this biography 
to the Rev. James Young, D.D., fraternal delegate from the 
Methodist Church of Canada at the session of the General 
Conference held at Asheville, N. C, in May, 1910. 



The Nezv World's Messenger to the Old. 207 

What action the Bishop took on this request we 
have no means of determining. That in his own wise, 
delicate, and entirely courteous way he brought the 
contention of the Canadian brethren before the au- 
thorities in England we have reason to believe from 
the following question in the British Minutes of that 
year — viz., "What is the decision of the Conference on 
those Canadian affairs which have this year been 
urged to its attention?" We doubt if the answer to 
that question was wholly satisfactory to the Canadians ; 
but the issue, like many another in Methodism, has 
ceased to have relevancy.* 

The Bishop's passport shows that, leaving England 
on his return journey, he reached France on August 
7, 1842, and that he was in Paris on September 17. 
Beyond this I have been unable to trace the course of 
his continental travels. That they were not extended 
is certain. He must be in America in time to take up 
his share of the late autumn and winter Conference 
visitations, so he was soon upon the ocean and home- 
ward bound, loaded with honors, thankful for abun- 
dant mercies, and filled with peace. Little did he then 
dream of the strife destined to break about him in the 
land and the Church he loved. 

*Some years later the wish of the Canadians for an under- 
standing had a happy consummation in the union of the Wes- 
leyan forces in the Dominion. The secret of how much the 
influence of the American delegate contributed to this end is 
with the other unrecorded facts of history. 



CHAPTER XIII. 
Where Two Seas Met. 

Neither the motif nor the scope of this biography 
calls for a recital of the details of the melancholy his- 
tory that fell to the Methodist Church between 1843 
and 1845, tne period of Bishop Soule's life to be cov- 
ered by the present chapter. It will be sufficient to ver- 
ify the incidents and events with which he was con- 
nected and determine the extent to which they were in- 
fluenced by his utterances and actions. 

When the fraternal delegate of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church in the United States of America to the 
Wesleyan connection in England reached his native 
shores in the autumn of 1842, he was made aware that a 
material change had taken place in the public sentiment 
of the Church in the North and East during the time of 
his sojourn abroad. 

The action of the General Conference of 1836 in de- 
claring strongly, even radically, against abolitionism 
will be readily recalled by the reader. Two of the del- 
egates in attendance upon that session were severely 
censured for visiting and speaking before an abolition 
meeting during the time of the Conference sitting. 
More than this, strong men like Wilbur Fisk, Bishop 
Hedding, Nathan Bangs, and Dr. Abel Stevens took 
the side of the Church, as expounded in the rule of 
1816, on the subject of slavery, and sought to stem the 
rising tide of abolitionism in the Churches of their na- 
(208) 



Where Two Seas Met. 209 

tive section; but it soon began to be seen that radical 
views were destined to obtain. The two censured dele- 
gates, Messrs. Norris and Snorr, returned to their Con- 
ference (the New Hampshire), and were publicly ap- 
proved by their constituency. Meetings to inveigh 
against the action of Church authorities were held, "ap- 
peals" were addressed to the Methodist public, and a 
newspaper was started in the interest of abolitionism in 
the Church. Then came the troubles experienced by 
the general superintendents in holding the Annual Con- 
ferences. "The older Bishops, Hedding and Soule, en- 
countered rough seas, but weathered the storm with 
only slight damage." The other bishops, being less ex- 
perienced, dreaded the call to preside over the New En- 
gland Conferences ; but their turn came. It has been 
noted already that, though Bishop Soule was during 
those years on the voluntary service list through in- 
validism, he was much burdened, and suffered above 
any of his colleagues because of these matters. Both he 
and Bishop Hedding were charged with autocracy and 
usurpation of power, and were slandered and roundly 
berated while presiding over Conferences. In their 
judgment of Bishop Soule the abolitionists were partic- 
ularly severe. He was represented as saying that "he 
never had advised and never would advise the freeing 
or manumission of a slave ;" while all his teachings, be- 
liefs, and actions were contrary to such sentiments. 
But it booted him little to disavow them or to ask dis- 
cipline against the authors of even more violent accusa- 
tions. Acquittals for the offenders were the uniform 
answers. 

The General Conference of 1840 came on, and still 



210 Life of Joshua Soule. 

the abolition sentiment inside the Church was unap- 
preciable except in New England. In the Episcopal 
Address, of which Soule was the author, the whole 
question of slavery, as also the situation then existing 
in the Church which had grown out of the abolition 
agitation, was gone over. The majority still held to 
the traditional teaching of Methodism on the evils of 
slavery and the necessity for its extirpation, but disal- 
lowed the expediency of radical agitation, action, or ut- 
terance. There is neither common sense nor Christian 
logic in holding that the extirpation of American slav- 
ery had to come by the bloody path of war, or that vio- 
lent disruptions of religious and social fabrics were 
necessary to emphasize its evils. Dr. Nathan Bangs, 
the historian, who has been frequently quoted in this bi- 
ography and a man who was never suspected of the 
slightest pro-slavery tendency, writing in 1840, in the 
fourth volume of his history says : 

As it is not ray wish to advert to abolitionism again, I 
will remark here that it has continued to agitate the Church 
from that time to this, much disturbing its peace and, in some 
of the Annual Conferences, distracting its councils, producing 
finally the secession of a few individuals. Indeed, it was feared 
for a time that its disastrous results would be extensively felt, 
particularly in some of the Eastern and Northern Conferences ; 
but it has so far passed off in a much more quiet manner than 
was anticipated, and it is to be hoped that but few, compara- 
tively, will be seriously and lastingly injured by these injudi- 
cious measures. Perhaps, however, a future day may disclose 
facts of a different character, and a future historian may be 
called to bear his testimony to a different result. Though it 
is somewhat difficult to reconcile the conduct of some few 
leaders in the ranks of abolitionism with a sincere regard to 
the interests of truth and righteousness, yet wc are willing 



Where Two Seas Met. 211 

to award to most of those who engaged in the controversy 
an honest desire to ameliorate the condition of the slave and 
to purify the Church from what they considered a sinful pollu- 
tion, although we cannot but think that their measures were 
ill chosen, their arguments in the main defective, and their 
severe denunciations and personal criminations wholly unjusti- 
fiable. 

Certain utterances in the above excerpt have an al- 
most prophetic significance. They suggest what might 
have been. But for the unhappy events of 1844, the 
Methodist Church could no doubt have found some 
amicable and generally acceptable plan to free itself not 
only from the incidental embarrassments but also from 
the fact of slavery. But, again, what profit is there in 
this reflection? History has made itself otherwise. 
However, there was then with the majority of Metho- 
dists, and more especially with its great leaders, North 
and South, a sense of sanity, frankness, and sincerity 
that expressed a principle of life and action. That 
principle lived through the days of strife and lives to- 
day. It was embodied at that time in its chief exponent, 
Joshua Soule, and remained so embodied to the end of 
his illustrious life. The division of Methodism was 
fairly the fault of both sections, and its cure must come 
as the result of sacrifices made by each. 

By 1840 plans were laid and completed for holding 
a Methodist abolition convention. It assembled in New 
York City, and was very largely attended ; but within 
a year or two the extremists found that the Church 
was, as a whole, still out of sympathy with their doc- 
trines. In 1842 the American Wesleyan Methodist 
Church was organized by the New England leaders of 
the abolition movement. The doctrines of this Church 



212 Life of Joshua Sonic. 

were those of the parent Methodism, but no slavehold- 
er could be an officer or even a member of it. As was 
true of the Methodist Protestant Church in its incip- 
ient stages, the newly established communion drew off 
a large element of disturbance, and for a time the whole 
Methodist connection wore an aspect of peace ; but al- 
though that peace was accentuated by widespread re- 
vivals and phenomenal gains in Church membership, 
it was a tranquillity which had in it the potencies of 
disruption. The fruitfulness was in the less disturbed 
sections, while the diversion of the Wesleyan Metho- 
dist empiricists was disturbing to the mind of many 
who were otherwise inclined to quietness. There were 
now multitudes ready to be incited to radical demands 
where before they had accepted official advice to be at 
peace. Large numbers of the hitherto passively dis- 
posed clergy had come to the point where a radical 
leader of ability could move them to cast away the last 
vestige of conservatism. Such leaders, even scores of 
such, were not long wanting. 

It was at this stage of sentiment that Bishop Soule 
returned from his transatlantic visit and took up his 
work in the Conferences. 

It has been fitly and truthfully said concerning the 
attitude of Bishop Soule in the controversy of 1820-28 
that "an orderly array of the facts is his vindication." 
That rule applies to his conduct at every stage of his 
history. With emphasis it applies to his actions and ut- 
terances during the trying period now under review. 
The negro slave had no truer friend nor one animated 
by a more sincere purpose to help than the now Senior 
Bishop of the Methodist Church. In the General Con- 



Where Two Seas Met. 213 

ference of 1840 he pleaded, and put his plea into offi- 
cial statement, that the slave member of the Church 
be held a Christian brother, and that his word and pro- 
fession be received with respect. 

But it was not to the American plantation slave alone 
that the heart of this apostolic man went out. The 
whole African race was to him an object of solicitude. 
He contemplated the pagan bondage of the children of 
the Dark Continent, and saw it to be more intolerable 
than the bondage of their brethren on the plantations of 
the South. It was at this very juncture that he medi- 
tated and even devised a plan for making himself the 
apostle to Africa. Though with no longer a pledge 
of health before him, he wished to give some of his re- 
maining strength and years to overseeing and building 
up the Church's mission in Liberia and adjacent parts. 
This is a page of history but little familiar to even the 
greatest admirers of Bishop Soule in this generation, 
and one which was long since lost sight of by those who 
desired to judge him uncharitably; but the history rests 
upon indubitable proof. The introduction at this point 
of an official letter, the autograph original of which is 
now in my possession, becomes not only pertinent but 
historically logical. The writer was a director of the 
Mission Board between 1840 and 1844: 

New York, January 12, 1843. 
Rev. Bishop Soule — My Dear Sir: At the last meeting of our 
Missionary Board it was resolved that it was inexpedient to 
advise you to visit the mission in Africa at the present. The 
Board was led to this conclusion from the belief that your 
health would greatly suffer from an exposure to the climate of 
that country, knowing the determination you had formed to 
remain in the country long enough to enable you to become 



214 Life of Joshua Soule. 

acquainted with the state of the work within the borders of 
the Liberia Mission. 

It was the opinion of Dr. Goheen that you might visit Africa 
with comparative safety, provided you would consent to lodge 
nightly on board of some vessel at anchor off the shore. 

As I have now made known to you officially the action of 
our Board, I beg to express my sincere thanks for the con- 
clusion to which they have come. Dr. Goheen told me that 
under any circumstances you might have an attack of the 
fever, and that your good constitution might enable you to 
return home, but it would be under very distressing circum- 
stances, as you would in all probability be disabled for life 
from active service. . . . 

One or two letters addressed to you while in Europe have 
been returned to me. One I handed to Brother Lane; the 
other I hold, waiting your instructions. It is postmarked 
"Lebanon, Sept. 26." 

With our united regards to you, Mrs. Soule, and family, I 
remain 

Yours very truly, Francis Hall. 

Thus it appears that his known feebleness and the 
contrary advice of Dr. Goheen, the Board's medical 
missionary in Liberia, alone prevented Bishop Soule 
from going, in 1843, to the African shores. This his- 
tory throws a light of much significance upon the para- 
graph in the Episcopal Address of 1840 which refers 
to the African Mission. That paragraph, as the en- 
tire Address beside, came from the pen and heart of 
Joshua Soule. It read : 

To Africa we look with the deepest solicitude. Our sym- 
pathies, prayers, and efforts mingle on her coasts. In our 
missionary enterprise commenced at Liberia we aim at the 
conversion of a continent to God. The handful of precious 
seed which has been sown in that infant colony and watered 
by the tears and prayers of the missionaries and the Church 



Where Two Seas Met. 215 

shall spring up and ripen, to be sown again with a hundred- 
fold increase, till Africa shall become one fruitful field, culti- 
vated in righteousness. Although a number of faithful and 
devoted missionaries have fallen in that field of labor, we 
should by_ no means be discouraged in the prosecution of so 
great a work. They have fallen asleep, but they sleep in the 
Lord. And being dead, they still speak; and the voice from 
their tombs is a call to the Church of Christ on the American 
Continent to emulate their holy zeal and fill up the ranks from 
which they have been removed. 

Since Melville B. Cox, the Virginian, in 1832 gave 
himself to Africa, too soon to sanctify its soil with his 
dust, the eye and thought of the New Englander had 
not ceased to turn that way. Had he been permitted by 
the Mission Board to carry out his wish, he would have 
been absent from the General Conference of 1844. 
What had been the consequences of that absence ? 

By the death of Bishop Roberts, which event oc- 
curred early in 1843, Soule became the Senior Bishop 
of the Church, and there devolved upon him the duty 
of providing for the Conference presidencies thus made 
vacant. In May he dispatched a letter to Bishop An- 
drew assigning several of the same to him. The re- 
mainder he took himself or apportioned them amongst 
himself and his other three colleagues. In November 
he was at the Mississippi Conference, as also at other 
Southern and some Western sittings ; but as the Min- 
utes of those years do not give the same clew to the 
Conference presidencies as do the modern journals, I 
am unable to trace his itinerary with certainty. Except 
for periodical attacks of asthma, his health continued 
good, and his old-time record for hard work was main- 
tained. 



2i6 Life of Joshua Soule. 

With the round of the autumn and spring Confer- 
ences finished, the General Conference of 1844 was in 
sight. Although he had taken full account of the drift 
of Northern and Eastern public opinion since his re- 
turn from Europe, Soule did not seem to apprehend the 
possibility of a cataclysm as the result of the debates 
admittedly certain to be joined at the coming session. 
But he was warned by his colleague, Bishop Andrew, 
to be prepared for the worst. "The state of the 
Church," wrote Andrew, ''afflicts me. The abolition 
excitement, I fear, has never presented an aspect so 
threatening to the union of the Church as it does at this 
moment. ... I look forward to the next General 
Conference with no little apprehension." But wise, 
diffident^ and unobtrusive as was this prophet, he little 
dreamed that he, of all men, should be the occasion 
and center of a contention whose effect would be — to 
use the mathematical language of Dr. Buckley — to 
leave to Methodism "a bisected Church." The forces 
soon to clash cannot better be described than by the use 
of the misallied categoricals, the "irresistible" and the 
"immovable." The determinative in the issue was not 
a matter primarily of religious conviction, nor predom- 
inantly of ethical ideals. Whatever there was of these, 
it existed largely as differences of interpretation. At 
last the issue was ethnic and social. So long as these 
latter sentiments were left out of the contest there was 
hope of an ultimate solution through the Church's cate- 
chetical and administrative channels. Time alone 
would have brought the conviction and mutual under- 
standing necessary to quietly abolish slavery as had 
been done by other civilized peoples. But when the po- 



Where Two Seas Met. 217 

litical and race aspects of the controversy came into 
view and were accepted as a major content of the ques- 
tion, a settlement was hopeless. To that extent the 
events of 1844 were the offspring of fate or fortuity. 

The General Conference of 1844 met in Greene 
Street Church, New York, on May i, and adjourned 
about the hour of 1 a.m. June 11, having been in ses- 
sion somewhat more than forty days. In ability, ex- 
perience, and skill in parliamentary matters the body 
was as marked as the questions it was called upon to 
handle were important. The leaders on both sides 
were, or had been, conservatives. A feeling of fore- 
boding, however, possessed the body from its opening 
session. 

A number of memorials on the subject of slavery 
were before the Conference during the first week of its 
sitting. These were referred to a committee instructed 
to report directly and without delay on the points made 
by the memorialists. However, before this committee 
could act the subject of slavery was brought before the 
Conference in a concrete form. The Rev. F. A. Har- 
ding, of the Baltimore Conference, who had become 
connected by marriage with slavery, had failed to man- 
umit the slaves, and for this reason had been by the An- 
nual Conference suspended from the functions of the 
ministerial office. Exercising the right of appeal, he 
caused his case to be laid before the General Confer- 
ence and asked for a reversal of the decision of the 
lower court. His plea for annulment of judgment was 
based mainly on the ground of the rule of 1816 which 
required of members and ministers that they manumit 
their slaves in States where the statutes permitted such 



21 8 Life of Joshua Soule. 

manumission and allowed the ex-slave to enjoy his 
freedom. The State of Maryland did not permit man- 
umission. It was further pleaded that the slaves would 
not, or had not, consented to removal to Liberia or 
to the territory of a nonslave State of the Union. The 
discussion of this case extended over four days ; and 
when the vote was finally taken, the decision of the 
Baltimore Conference was sustained : Mr. Harding was 
left suspended. 

The effect produced upon the public mind of the 
Church by the reports sent out covering the debates 
and proceedings in the Harding case was exciting in 
the extreme. In the South the news brought distress 
and increased foreboding ; in the North and East it was 
generally received with exultation. But there were 
many men of the North in the Conference who saw the 
peril ahead and joined their Southern colleagues in a 
movement to avert the same. The ordinary business 
and legislation of the session were almost wholly neg- 
lected, the supreme wish being to save the ship. On 
the fifteenth day of the sitting Dr. Capers and Dr. Olin 
joined in a call for a committee to confer with the bish- 
ops as to the possibility of adopting a plan "for the per- 
manent pacification of the Church." Dr. Olin, though 
supporting this call, saw little hope for pacification. 
He did "not see how Northern men could yield their 
ground or Southern men give up theirs." The "irre- 
sistible" and the "immovable" were in contact. The 
law of the Church on slavery was no longer accepted 
as a reason by the majority, and the minority would 
never tolerate a violation of it. The law represented 
the convictions of the minority, but it no longer repre- 



Where Two Seas Met. 219 

sented the sentiments of the majority. After a season 
of fasting and prayer and after much deliberation, the 
committee on May 18 reported that no plan of com- 
promise or agreement could be devised. The ship was 
driving, and the elements were growing more threaten- 
ing on both bows. 

Two days later, on the 20th, the beginning of the 
end was entered upon. Bishop Andrew, through cir- 
cumstances too well known to every intelligent Meth- 
odist reader to need rehearsing here, had become con- 
nected with slavery. The case bore the exact features 
of that of Mr. Harding. Moreover, the laws of Geor- 
gia were practically the same as those of Maryland. 
Under the circumstances Bishop Andrew considered 
the slaves in his care as part of his household; and 
since to manumit them was to send them into exile, to 
which they would not consent, he could but leave them 
to his wife as a matter of mercy and human kindness. 

Under a motion made by Mr. Collins and sustained 
by a majority vote of the Conference, the Committee 
on Episcopacy was instructed to inquire into the facts 
of Bishop Andrew's relations to slavery. The commit- 
tee reported back to the Conference on May 21, sub- 
mitting a statement from Bishop Andrew, in substance 
as given above. There was no plea accompanying this 
statement. He was a bishop in the Church, but the law 
of the Church protected alike the general superintend- 
ent and the humblest member. He stood silently on 
that law, by means of which the connection had been 
held together from the beginning. There was no 
charge brought or even insinuated against him; his 
character was spotless. Dr. Stephen Olin, a most capa- 



220 Life of Joshua Soule. 

ble judge, said on the Conference floor: "If there ever 
was a man worthy to fill the episcopal office by his dis- 
interestedness, his love of the Church, his ardent, melt- 
ing sympathy for all the interests of humanity, but, 
above all, by his unreserved and uncompromising ad- 
vocacy of the interests of the slaves — if these are the 
qualifications for the office of a bishop, then James O. 
Andrew is preeminently fitted to hold the office. I 
know no man who has been so bold an advocate of the 
interests of the slaves ; and when I have been con- 
strained to refrain from saying what perhaps I should 
have said (to the owners of slaves), I have heard him 
at camp meetings .and on other public occasions call 
fearlessly on masters to see to the temporal and spir- 
itual interests of their slaves as a high Christian duty." 
On May 22 Alfred Griffith introduced a resolution 
calling on Bishop Andrew to resign his office. In the 
absence of a charge, Mr. Griffith advanced the doc- 
trine that a bishop is simply an officer of the General 
Conference, and that the Conference can demand his 
resignation without assigning a reason therefor. That 
theory became popular during subsequent debates, and 
was strongly supported by Dr. (afterwards Bishop) 
Hamline and others. With Griffith it was a survival 
and development from the radicalism engendered by 
the debates on the "suspended resolutions" in the Gen- 
eral Conferences of 1820 and 1824. Quite vividly were 
the scenes of those early days recalled when, at the 
close of Mr. Griffith's speech and amid a profound sen- 
sation in the Conference room, Bishop Soule arose 
and, claiming the right to address the body, uttered 
these characteristic words : "I rise, sir, seeing no 



Where Two Seas Met. 221 

other speaker on the floor, and, I assure you and 
the Conference, strange as it may seem, with as per- 
fect calmness of spirit as I ever remember to have 
possessed at any period of my life. I cannot and 
I need not conceal from you, sir, or from this Gen- 
eral Conference that since the commencement of this 
session I have been the subject of deep mental dis- 
tress and agony. But in this respect the season of 
my bitterness has passed away. Conscious that I have 
pursued, with close thought and prayer, such a course 
as was within my power to harmonize the brethren and 
to strengthen, if possible, the peace and unity of this 
body and of the whole Church, I have calmly submit- 
ted the whole matter to the overruling and superintend- 
ing providence of Almighty God. I stand connected 
with this subject individually, and in connection with 
my colleagues, in a truly peculiar way ; but I have 
at this period no personal interest whatever in the mat- 
ter. I am, I assure you, willing, entirely willing, so 
far as I am myself concerned, to be immolated ; but I 
can be immolated on only one altar, and that is the 
altar of the union of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 
You cannot, all the powers of earth cannot, immo- 
late me upon a Northern altar or a Southern altar. 
Here I take my stand, my position. But I did not rise, 
with the indulgence of this body, this morning even to 
touch the merits of the question now before this body. 
It would ill become me in the relation I sustain to this 
body and to the Methodist Episcopal Church to do it. 
But I have risen to suggest to the Conference some 
considerations which I hope may have their influence 
upon the mode of conducting this weighty concern. I 



222 Life of Joshua Sonic. 

speak to men of God, to men of experience, to men who 
have analyzed the elements of human nature and of ec- 
clesiastical and civil polity, to men of thought, who 
have been accustomed to trace causes and their effects 
through all the diversified forms of human society. I 
speak to Christian men and Christian ministers ; I 
speak to young men who have not had the same time as 
the aged nor the same opportunities from experience 
and observation to grasp fully these great and interest- 
ing subjects. I trust I shall hear on the floor of this 
Conference the voice of age and of experience; and I 
beseech you, brethren, by the deepest interests that can 
affect our beloved Zion — I beseech you by a voice from 
the tomb of a Wesley and a beloved Asbury, and from 
the sleeping places of our venerated fathers, to let your 
spirits on this occasion be perfectly calm and self-pos- 
sessed and perfectly deliberate. I advise, in the place 
in which I stand, that the younger men hear the voice 
of age. I beg you, brethren, to remember that you 
stand at this moment before several tribunals. You are 
before (I speak to the General Conference) a tribunal 
in the galleries ; and whatever view you may take of 
this subject, if they cannot judge of the merits of the 
case before you, such are their enlightened ideas of 
what belongs to the spirit of Christianity and the office 
of Christian ministers that they will sit in judgment on 
you. I would also observe here that, as a great branch 
of the Protestant Christian community, our position in 
regard to this subject is unique and distinguished from 
all other branches of that community. So far as I 
know, there is not a single sister (Protestant) Church 
in these United States or in the world having any legis- 



Where Two Seas Met. 223 

1 

lation on the subject of slavery. I say in this we are 
unique, we are alone. We therefore stand in our action 
on this subject before the tribunal of all the Christian 
Churches of our own land, and our actions will certain- 
ly be judged of by that tribunal. We act here also in 
the capacity of a General Conference, and everything 
we do here is to go out before the whole body of 
ministers and people whom we here represent; it is to 
go out in the face of the whole Church, and they will 
judge with respect to our action in the premises. We 
are, too, before the tribunal of public opinion, and 
statesmen, civilians, and jurists have an interest in this 
matter ; and they will judge us on other grounds and in 
reference to our standards and rules of action, and not 
as we shall be judged by the great mass. They will 
judge by the rules of the 'book,' according as our ac- 
tion is founded on facts and is in accordance with the 
rules of that book which contains the constitution and 
laws of the Church." ? 

Following the address of Bishop Soule, a number of 
speeches were made on the Griffith motion, which pro- 
posed to secure Bishop Andrew's resignation from of- 
fice not on legal grounds, but on those of expediency. 
These speeches came from both sides, from Southern 
and Northern men in about equal numbers. At the close 
of the debate on the Griffith motion, the radicals prac- 
tically admitted defeat in the argument by abandoning 
the demand for the Bishop's resignation and asking in 
a substitute offered by Finley that he "desist from the 
exercise of this [the episcopal] office so long as this 
impediment [of slavery] remains." 

Bishop Andrew would no doubt have resigned ex- 



224 Life of Joshua Souk. 

cept for the unanimous protest of the Southern dele- 
gates, who felt that such a course would "jeopardize 
the unity of the Church." From no point of view did 
they see a promise of help in the removal or retirement 
of Bishop Andrew from office. Nor was agreement 
possible with the case left in status quo. Vainly the 
moderates hoped to achieve a victory that would divide 
itself — half to the one, half to the other. The majority 
was only logical, if still unjust. 

The effect of the original resolution and the substi- 
tute was the same — namely, to deprive Bishop Andrew 
of his office without form of trial. Upon the submis- 
sion of the substitute followed a debate which for bril- 
liancy and forensic circumstance, it is believed, has 
never been surpassed, even in the Senate of the United 
States. Particularly noteworthy were the contribu- 
tions made to it by George F. Pierce and Jesse T. Peck, 
both young men and both afterwards called to the epis- 
copacy. Near the end of this series of brilliant ora- 
tions (for they were that rather than convincing argu- 
ments) and at what his venerable judgment considered 
the psychological moment, Bishop Soule again inter- 
vened with an utterance which, to my mind, is so mas- 
terful a resume of the points and relations of ethics and 
jurisprudence involved that it may be compared with 
the constitutional papers of our greatest statesmen. 
The Bishop said in part: "I desire that no undue in- 
fluence may be produced from the peculiar relation in 
which I stand to the Church. Sympathy may exert 
too great an influence when it is brought to bear on 
great principles. The only subject which has awak- 
ened my sympathies during this whole discussion is 



Where Two Seas Met. 225 

the condition of my suffering brethren of the colored 
race, and this never fails to do it. No matter where I 
meet the man of color, whether in the South or in the 
North, with the amount of liberty he enjoys, the sym- 
pathies of my nature are all awakened for him. Could 
I restore bleeding Africa to freedom, to independence, 
to the rights — to all the rights — of man, I would most 
gladly do it. But this I cannot do, you cannot do. 
And if I cannot burst the bonds of the colored man, I 
will not strengthen them. If I cannot extend to him all 
the good I would, I will never shut him out from the 
benefits which I have it in my power to bestow. . . . 
'I wish to say explicitly that if the superintendents are 
to be regarded only as the officers of the General Con- 
ference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and conse- 
quently, as officers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
liable to be deposed at will by a simple majority of this 
body, without a form of trial, no obligation existing 
growing out of the constitution and laws of the 
Church, even to assign cause wherefore — I say, if this 
doctrine be a correct one, everything I have to say 
hereafter is powerless and falls to the ground. But 
brethren will permit me to say, strange as it may seem, 
although I have had the honor and the privilege to be 
a member of the General Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church ever since its present organization, 
though I was honored with a seat in the convention of 
ministers which organized it, in this respect I have 
heard for the first time, either on the floor of this Con- 
ference, in an Annual Conference, or through the 
whole of the private membership, this doctrine ad- 
vanced ; this is the first time I ever heard it. Of course 
15 



226 Life of Joshua Soule. 

it struck me as a novelty. I am not going to enter the 
arena of controversy with this Conference. I desire 
that my position may be defined. I desire to under- 
stand my landmarks as a bishop of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, not the bishop of the General Confer- 
ence, not the bishop of any Annual Conference. . . . 
Well, brethren, I had conceived, I had understood from 
the beginning that special provision was made for the 
trial of a bishop. The constitution has provided that 
no preacher, no person was to be deprived of the right 
of trial, according to the forms of Discipline, and of 
the right of appeal; but, sir, if I understand the doc- 
trine advanced and vindicated, it is that you may de- 
pose a bishop without the form of trial; you may de- 
pose him without any obligation to show cause, and 
therefore he is the only minister in your Church who 
has no appeal. It seems to me that the Church has 
made special provision for the trial of the bishop, for 
the special reason that the bishop has no appeal. Well, 
now, sir, I make these observations, as I said, only to 
the ear of reason. You will remember that this whole 
thing is going out before the world as well as the 
Church. I wish to know my landmarks, to find out 
where I stand ; for, indeed, I do not hesitate to say to 
you that if my standing and the relation in which I 
have been placed to the Methodist Episcopal Church 
under my solemn vows of ordination, if my relation is 
to stand on the voice of a simple majority of this body, 
without a form of trial and without an obligation even 
to show me cause why I am deposed, I have some 
doubt whether there is the man on this floor that would 
be willing to stand in rriy place. Now, brethren will at 



Where Two Seas Met. 



2.2.7 



once perceive the peculiar situation in which I am 
placed. Here are my brethren from the Ohio and oth- 
er Conferences. We have been together in great har- 
mony and peace. There has been great union of spirit 
everywhere, but I said at the beginning there were peri- 
ods in the history of every man occupying any impor- 
tant relation or station in society when his individual 
character and influence could not be neutralized by the 
laws of association. You must unmoor me from my 
anchorage on the basis of this book ; you must unsettle 
me from my principles, my settled and fixed princi- 
ples. From these I cannot be shaken by any influences 
on my right hand or on my left hand ; neither the zeal 
of youth nor the experience of hoary age shall move 
me from my principles. Convince me that I am wrong, 
and I yield. . . . The adoption of that resolution de- 
poses Bishop Andrew, without form of trial ; such is my 
deliberate opinion. I do not believe it is safe for our 
community ; I do not believe it is safe for you ; and I am 
out of this question. What shall be done ? The ques- 
tion, I know, wakes up the attention of every brother. 
Can it be possible that the Methodist Episcopal Church 
is in such a state of excitement — in such a state, I had 
almost said, of revolution — as to be unprepared to send 
out the plain, simple facts in the case to the Churches, 
to the Annual Conferences, everywhere through our 
community, and waive all action on this subject till an- 
other General Conference ? . . . And now, in tak- 
ing leave, I offer devout prayer to Almighty God that 
you may be directed wisely in the decision you are 
about to make. I have given to you what, in my sober 
and deliberate judgment, is the best and safest course 



228 Life of Joshua Soulc. 

which you can pursue — safest for all concerned. I 
want that opinion to have no more influence upon you 
than it justly deserves in the Conferences, all the Con- 
ferences. I thank the Conference for the attention 
they have been pleased to give me. I thank the audi- 
ence for their attention. I very well know, I am not at 
all unapprised, that the position I occupy, in which I 
stand on the principles of that resolution — on the prin- 
ciples involved in it — may seal my fate. I say I am not 
all unapprised of that. Let me go ; but I pray you, hold 
to principles — to principles. And with these remarks 
I submit the whole to your and God's direction. 
Amen." 

The exciting and disturbing debate held through sev- 
eral days. "So far from developing any plan of pa- 
cification," says Dr. Gross Alexander in his interesting 
study of the proceedings of this Conference, "the de- 
bate developed decided differences of view between the 
Northern and Southern delegates concerning funda- 
mental questions of Church polity and law, in particu- 
lar concerning the constitutional powers of the Gener- 
al Conference and the tenure of office of the bishops, 
or, more broadly, the relation of the episcopal office to 
the government of Episcopal Methodism." 

It seemed for a time that the substitute was destined 
to meet the same fate as the original motion— that it 
was never to be put to a vote. The previous question 
was called, but the call was not sustained. At this 
juncture Bishop Hedding came forward and proposed 
that a conference be held between the bishops and the 
committee of Northern and Southern delegates. The 
suggestion was hailed with hope. The bishops were giv- 



Where Tzvo Seas Met. 229 

en, by consent, powers plenipotentiary. On May 31 
they reported the results of their conference. They rec- 
ommended a suspension of all action in Bishop An- 
drew's case until the General Conference of 1848 and 
the employment of Bishop Andrew in the meantime 
only "in those sections of the Church in which his 
presence and services would be welcome and cordial." 

Before any action could be taken on this recom- 
mendation, Bishop Hedding withdrew his name, be- 
cause, as it has since been affirmed, the New England 
contingent threatened to secede from the connection 
should Bishop Andrew be left in the bishopric. Bish- 
ops Waugh and Morris desired their names to remain. 
Bishop Soule wished the document, with his name at- 
tached to it, "to go forth through a thousand channels 
to the world." Another futile effort -or two being made 
to adopt the Bishops' report as a compromise, the pre- 
vious question was called "amid profound silence" and 
carried by a vote of 111 to 69. Bishop Andrew had 
been requested to suspend himself from the office of 
bishop. 

A motion to construe the action as advisory and not 
mandatory was sent to the table. Excitement rose 
steadily ; and it having appeared to the Southern dele- 
gates that the limit of passivity had been reached, but 
inspired by a purpose to lay a sure foundation for their 
feet, they met and formulated a protest against the ac- 
tion of the majority as subversive of the law of the 
Church and contrary to the letter and spirit of justice. 
This document was written by Dr. H. B. Bascom, and 
is noteworthy in a record filled with noteworthy utter- 
ances. It may in some true and proper sense be re- 



230 Life of Joshua Soule. 

garded as the history-granted charter of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, and, as its writer and spon- 
sors believed, a restoration in spirit and letter of the 
original Methodist Episcopal Church in America, a ti- 
tle which ceased to have legal significance in 1796. 

On June 5 the Southern delegates submitted a dec- 
laration to the effect that the continued agitation of 
the subject of slavery and abolition and the extra ju- 
dicial proceedings in the case of Bishop Andrew "must 
produce a state of things in the South which renders 
a continuance of the jurisdiction of this General Con- 
ference over these Conferences inconsistent with the 
success of the ministry in the slave-holding States." 
This was meant to discover the state of mind in the 
Northern wing of the Conference. Had those breth- 
ren found it desirable to see the Church divided rather 
than agree to a compromise ? 

Dr. Elliott moved the reference of the "declaration" 
to a committee which should, failing to find any other 
solution, report, "if possible, a constitutional plan for 
a mutual and friendly division of the Church." In due 
time this committee reported the historic "Plan of Sep- 
aration," the constitutionality of which was subse- 
quently fully established by the civil courts. For the 
text of it the reader is referred to some general Church 
history. It provided for the division of the Church on 
territorial lines, and also for distribution of the money 
and assets of the Book Concern and the Chartered 
Fund on the basis of Church and ministerial member- 
ship. 

The Plan of Separation, when submitted to the Con- 
ference, was adopted by a majority ranging from 135 



Where Two Seas Met. 231 

to 153 on the several resolutions, against 18 to 13 vot- 
ing in the negative. Before the adjournment of the 
Conference, which occurred two days later, Bishop 
Soule for himself and his colleagues asked instructions 
from the Conference as to whether Bishop Andrew's 
name should appear in the official books of the Church 
as a bishop, if he should receive a bishop's stipend, and 
what work, if any, should be assigned him. The Con- 
ference instructed that his name should stand in the 
official publications, and that he should receive a bish- 
op's allowance. On the last point the response was am- 
biguous, but seemed to put the responsibility on Bish- 
op Andrew. Thus closed the memorable General Con- 
ference of 1844. There were aching hearts in the bos- 
oms of thousands, but none ached as did that great 
heart in the bosom of the Senior Bishop of Methodism. 
He stood now where two seas met. He was in heavi- 
ness, but not for himself. He knew what he should 
do — follow the one star which had led him through 
his changeful years : loyalty to conviction and duty. 
"Duty had a charm for him that no suffering could ob- 
scure." He saw that he must soon choose his course — 
it was already chosen. But it was not to be the South 
against the North, nor the South for its own sake. He 
had chosen Methodism in his youth ; it was Metho- 
dism, as he interpreted it, that he was now set to fol- 
low through all. The late Dr. Summers, in consid- 
ering this purpose of his, said : "Perhaps no man was 
ever more thoroughly attached to the Methodist sys- 
tem of doctrine and discipline than Joshua Soule. He 
loved Methodism because of its grand scriptural char- 
acter, its aggressive power, and its diffusive spirit. He 



232 Life of Joshua Soule. 

loved its simple theology, its sublime psalmody, its de- 
cent forms — for which, indeed, he was somewhat of a 
stickler — and its elevated standards of experimental 
and practical piety. His own personal religious char- 
acter was formed upon it. And when he drew near his 
end, he rejoiced in the belief that it was renewing its 
youth and going forth afresh, like a strong man to run 
a race, and bequeathed to the Church his dying testi- 
mony in favor of its truth and power. He told us es- 
pecially and emphatically on his dying bed that he con- 
sidered the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, as the 
fairest and fullest exponent of Methodism now in ex- 
istence." 



CHAPTER XIV. 
Cavalier and Puritan. 

Nobody believed after the close of the General Con- 
ference of 1844 in the possibility of the continued uni- 
ty of American Episcopal Methodism. Not only were 
the Southern delegates of this opinion, but they felt it 
a necessity and a duty to anticipate action on the part 
of that section of the Church which they represented. 
Accordingly, in a meeting held immediately following 
the adjournment of the General Conference they pre- 
pared an address to their constituencies in which it 
was suggested that a convention be called to meet in 
Louisville, Ky., in May, 1845, to be composed of dele- 
gates in the ratio of one to each eleven members of the 
Annual Conferences. The address advised that these 
delegates be fully instructed upon all the points on 
which the separate constituencies might elect to have 
action taken. This done, the Southerners repaired to 
their homes. 

Wounded and smarting under the action of the ma- 
jority, Bishop Andrew also returned without delay to 
his home, in Georgia. Strong and masterful man 
though he was, he was doubtless dazed at the stu- 
pendous upheaval of which he was the center, and felt 
that he must have time and quiet for reflection. These 
considerations and feelings of delicacy kept him from 
attending the meeting of the bishops which fell soon 
after in New York City. The name of Bishop Andrew 

(233) 



234 Life of Joshua Soule. 

did not appear on the published list of episcopal visita- 
tions, and the reason for this, as officially given, was 
that, inasmuch as the General Conference devolved on 
Bishop Andrew himself the responsibility of deciding 
what, if any, work he should take, the other superin- 
tendents could not without his verbal or written re- 
quest assign him any labor. Two plans, however, were 
prepared— one given to the public, and another, called 
the "reserved plan," which was committed to Bishop 
Soule for safe and confidential keeping. This "re- 
served plan" was to replace the published plan only in 
the event Bishop Andrew should make personal appli- 
cation for work, or signify in writing his willingness to 
take the assignments. The original of this paper is be- 
fore me. With the exception of the Indiana Mission 
District, the Conferences allotted Bishop Andrew were 
exclusively in the South, which, under the conditions 
existing, was a perfectly proper arrangement. Indeed, in 
all the matters dealt with by the bishops at this time 
there was evidenced the most genuine desire to do jus- 
tice and serve the Church, which was still a unity so far 
as its organization and oversight were concerned. If 
this spirit had been maintained by all, the decision for 
division, when it did come, would, in the language of 
Bishop Morris, have "disturbed the Church no more 
than would the creation of a new Annual Conference." 
There were not wanting on both sides those who at one 
time hoped that a common episcopacy might serve both 
divisions of Methodism. How futile that hope was is 
now only too well known. 

The defective point in the scheme for a reserved plan 
of visitation was that Bishop Andrew was not official- 



Cavalier and Puritan. 235 

ly notified of it ; and although through a close intimacy 
with Bishop Soule he learned the facts, he could not 
accept the information as warranting a formal com- 
munication. He had been put by both the General 1 
Conference and the bishops in the attitude of a re- 
spondent, and could act worthily and creditably only 
on their initiative. Against the exclusion of Bishop 
Andrew from the published list of visitations Bishop 
Soule entered a strong protest. Bishop Morris was 
also disinclined to allow the justness of the act, but 
yielded because of the action taken by the General Con- 
ference. 

Bishop Andrew did not — he could not — apply for 
work. He was entitled to it on the basis of his epis- 
copacy ; but it must be allowed that the majority of his 
colleagues felt a conscientious constraint in view of 
the aforesaid action of the General Conference, though 
several of them believed that action unwarranted. 
With the courage and frankness characteristic of him 
in all things, Bishop Soule invited Bishop Andrew to 
join him at the sittings of those Conferences over which 
he had been named to preside. This invitation Bishop 
Andrew so far accepted as to meet his venerable col- 
league at the Kentucky Conference in September. Aft- 
er the session of that body, however, he turned east- 
ward. 

The Kentucky Conference, being the first of the 
Southern sittings for the year, indorsed the call for the 
proposed Convention at Louisville and elected its quota 
of delegates. Thus was the first note of formal sep- 
aration sounded. That it would close in a diapason of 
the Conferences South, no man questioned, least of all 



236 Life of Joshua Soule. 

the wise and far-seeing senior superintendent. I find 
in the fragmentary remains of Bishop Soule's papers 
one written in his own hand which belongs to this date. 
It is addressed, "My Dear Brother," but there is no 
clew to the identity of the addressed. I am, however, 
led to think that the contents were meant for either 
Bishop Morris or Bishop Hedding. The document is 
of such importance as expounding the Bishop's atti- 
tude at this time that I quote two of its more pertinent 
sections : 

In my last letter I freely expressed the opinion that the 
division of the Church would be the inevitable result of the 
action of the late General Conference and offered some grounds 
on which that opinion was founded. But while I entertain 
this sentiment as the honest and, I think, the unprejudiced 
conviction of my mind, and as such express it, I do it at the 
same time with a sorrow and heaviness of spirit too deep and 
painful to be described. And if the last act of my official 
life could effect such a permanent adjustment of the contro- 
versy as would preserve the union of the body on a firm foun- 
dation, I should believe that I had lived to valuable purposes, 
if no other act of my life had contributed to the promotion 
of the prosperity of the Church of Christ, the best interests of 
my country, or the happiness of my fellow-men. But I cannot 
even hope for such an auspicious close of my pilgrimage. 
. . . Can it be true in fact that the constitution and dis- 
ciplinary rules of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which are 
designed as the bulwarks and safeguards of the right and 
privileges of every grade of ministers and members in her 
communion and to define and limit the powers of every judi- 
cature and prescribe the duties and prerogatives of every of- 
fice known in her economy, are so vague and indefinite as to 
afford a valid ground for such conflicting opinions ? Are the 
lines of demarcation between the legislative, executive, and 
judicial departments of the Church yet to be settled? Is it 



Cavalier and Puritan. 237 

yet to be determined whether the eldership of the Church is 
equal in its rights ? or whether the episcopacy is a mere agency 
of the General Conference or a distinct department in the gov- 
ernment? Whether a bishop of the Church may be suspended 
from the exercise of the functions of his office without any 
form of trial or any charge of improper conduct of any kind 
or any delinquency of official duties? 

That Bishop Soule had an affinity — the far-off affin- 
ity of blood and race traditions — for the people and 
ideals of the South is not to be questioned. The ata- 
vism so powerfully manifested in his character made 
him a Southerner by natural selection. Slavery was 
never to be considered a part of these ideals. Slavery 
was the accident as it was the misfortune of the South. 
At first slavery was common to New England and the 
South. New England was indeed the "black-birder" 
of the nation, introducing and promoting the trade in 
the beginning; but the barren crofts of the Puritans 
made slavery unremunerative. The cotton plant and 
its fertile savannas made the South a slave country. 
The early ideals of the South were those conservative 
doctrines of the social order, that amenability to law 
and traditional authority and respect for the worth of 
the individual that completely described the creed of 
Joshua Soule on the intellectual side. He was op- 
posed to slavery as such, was never the owner of a 
slave, nor can it be shown that he ever sought by word 
or deed to abet the institution. He only accepted in 
the Church the view that Washington, Jefferson, and 
others had held in the State. It was a problem to be 
worked out in sanity and patience. That the Gordian 
knot was at last cut with the bloody sword of fratri- 



238 Life of Joshua Soule. 

cidal strife is not evidence that the doctrine of Wash- 
ington, Jefferson, Asbury, and Soule in the two realms, 
temporal and spiritual, could not have brought a hap- 
pier result under conditions of peace. 

But it was not his natural affinity in these things that 
caused Soule to cast his lot with the South. The large 
determinative was the fact that, as he saw it, the As- 
burian ark, with the scroll of the law and the staff that 
budded, went with the minority rather than with the 
majority. No historian dealing with the period of 
American Methodism from 1784 to 1844 can escape the 
fact that the spirit of Episcopal Methodism — the de- 
fense and interpretation of its legal life — was embod- 
ied in three men — Francis Asbury, William McKen- 
dree, and Joshua Soule. Nor can it be easily doubted 
that each of these men would have behaved himself 
similarly in the other's place. Each stood absolutely on 
the "book of the law." "Twice in my life," said Bish- 
op Soule in after years, "have I been brought to a 
stand. Twice have my faith and resolution been put to 
the test ; but I decided in both cases in the fear of God, 
and with reference to my accountability at his bar." 

As the autumn of 1844 passed and the winter came 
on, Conference after Conference of the Southern cir- 
cuit elected delegates to the proposed Convention, all 
expressing the hope that some plan for continued unity 
might be found, but all instructing for separation as a 
final measure. The Alabama Conference, which met in 
March, 1845, was tne last of the number and completed 
the unanimity of the call. It was now May 1, 1845. 
The delegates had assembled at Louisville, and "Finis" 
was being appended to the chapter on separation. 



Cavalier and Puritan. 239 

The scope of this work does not lay upon me the 
necessity of tracing the course of action taken at this 
Convention. Our Church histories, and especially the 
admirable work of Dr. Redford, to which reference 
has already been made, may be consulted for the de- 
tails of the destiny-making session. But fidelity to my 
subject requires that I treat briefly of the status and 
powers of this Convention, as the view I get of them 
comports with the interpretation of separation as given 
by the august man whose memoir I am now writing. 
The Louisville Convention was not endowed with 
plenary powers, as some have held. It was not a Con- 
ference nor an ecclesiastical synod in any proper sense. 
It was no more than a commission of the General Con- 
ference, appointed through an unusual but constitution- 
al process to carry out the details of an act of the said 
Conference — namely, "The Plan of Separation." This 
plan, when indorsed by the Annual Conferences inter- 
ested, became the authorization and charter of the Con- 
vention, which had power to divide the Church — no 
more. It could not alter one canon, statute, or letter 
of the book of Discipline other than was necessary to 
divide the connection into two General Conferences. 
The Church remained the same; the Discipline re- 
mained unchanged. Had the Convention gone beyond 
this and altered one rule or law of the Discipline, the 
charge that a new Church had been created, that a se- 
cession had been accomplished, could have been made 
to stand. Nothing of the sort was, however, done. 
The name of the Church was not changed, only for the 
expositive "in the United States of America" (which 
itself was an emendation) was substituted the suffix 



240 Life of Joshua Soule. 

"South." The ratio of representation from the An- 
nual Conferences was changed, as was also the time for 
the meeting of the General Conference of the Southern 
body. These two items are indeed in the constitution, 
but are nonessentials and movable signs. For the rest 
a committee was appointed to verbally conform the 
Discipline to the new order, and the work of the Con- 
vention was finished, leaving the Church and the Disci- 
pline where it found them. 

The Southern Conferences by vote invited the bish- 
ops of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United 
States of America to attend the sessions of the Louis- 
ville Convention. This meant all the bishops — Soule, 
Hedding, Waugh, Morris, Andrew 5 , Hamline, and 
Janes, the two latter having been elected by the General 
Conference of the year before. Bishops Soule, Mor- 
ris, and Andrew accepted the invitation and were pres- 
ent at the opening session. By resolution of the Con- 
vention, the three bishops were requested to preside 
over its deliberations and under such arrangements as 
they might make from day to day. Bishop Morris de- 
clined to share the presidency, but Bishop Soule for 
himself and Bishop Andrew accepted the invitation in 
the following words : "The opinion which I formed at 
the close of the late General Conference, that the pro- 
ceedings of that body would result in a division of the 
Church, was not induced by the impulse of excitement, 
but was predicated of principles and facts after the 
most deliberate and mature consideration. That opin- 
ion I have freely expressed. And however deeply I have 
regretted such a result, believing it to be inevitable, 
my efforts have been made not to prevent it, but rather 



Cavalier and Puritan. 241 

that it might be attended with the least injury and the 
greatest amount of good which the case would admit. 
I am not alone in this opinion. A number of aged and 
influential ministers entertained the same views. And, 
indeed, it is not easy to conceive how any one intimate- 
ly acquainted with the facts in the case and the relative 
position of the North and South could arrive at any 
other conclusion. Nothing has transpired since the 
close of the General Conference to change the opinion 
I then formed, but subsequent events have rather con- 
firmed it. In view of the certainty of the issue and at 
the same time ardently desirous that the two great di- 
visions of the Church might be in peace and harmony 
within their own respective bounds and cultivate the 
spirit of Christian fellowship, brotherly kindness, and 
charity for each other, I cannot but consider it an aus- 
picious event that sixteen Annual Conferences, repre- 
sented in this Convention, have acted with such 
extraordinary unanimity in the measures they have 
taken in the premises. In the Southern Conferences 
which I have attended I do not recollect that there has 
been a dissenting voice with respect to the necessity of 
a separate organization ; and although their official acts 
in deciding the important question have been marked 
with that clearness and decision which should afford 
satisfactory evidence that they have acted under a sol- 
emn conviction of duty to Christ and to the people of 
their charge, they have been equally distinguished by 
moderation and candor. And as far as I have been in- 
formed, all the other Conferences have pursued a sim- 
ilar course. . . . While you are thus impressed 
with the importance and solemnity of the subject which 
16 



242 Life of Joshua Soule. 

has occasioned the Convention, and of the high respon- 
sibility under which you act, I am confident you will 
cultivate the spirit of Christian moderation and for- 
bearance, and that in all your acts you will keep strict- 
ly within the limits and provisions of the Plan of Sep- 
aration adopted by the General Conference with great 
unanimity and apparent Christian kindness. I can have 
no doubt of the firm adherence of the ministers and 
members of the Church in the Conferences you repre- 
sent to the doctrines, rules, order of government, and 
forms of worship contained in our excellent book of 
Discipline. For myself I stand upon the basis of 
Methodism as contained in this book, and from it I 
intend never to be removed. I cannot be insensible to 
the expression of your confidence in the resolution you 
have unanimously adopted, requesting me to preside 
over the Convention in conjunction with my col- 
leagues. And after having weighed the subject with 
careful deliberation, I have resolved to accept your in- 
vitation and discharge the duties of the important trust 
to the best of my ability. My excellent colleague, Bish- 
op Andrew, is of the same mind, and will cordially par- 
ticipate in the duties of the chair. ... I am re- 
quested to state to the Convention that our worthy and 
excellent colleague, Bishop Morris, believes it to be his 
duty to decline a participation" in the presidential du- 
ties. He assigns such reasons for so doing as are, in 
the judgment of his colleagues, perfectly satisfactory; 
and it is presumed they would be considered in the 
same light by the Convention. In conclusion, I trust 
that all things will be done in that spirit which will be 
approved of God, and devoutly pray that your acts may 



Cavalier and Puritan. 243 

result in the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom 
and the salvation of the souls of men." 

After delivering these words, Bishop Soule took the 
chair and alternately with Bishop Andrew presided 
over the succeeding sessions. On May 19 the Conven- 
tion passed the following resolution — viz. : 

Resolved, That Bishops Soule and Andrew be, and they are 
hereby, respectively and cordially requested by this conven- 
tion to unite with, and become regular and constitutional 
bishops of, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, upon the 
basis of the Plan of Separation adopted by the late General 
Conference. 

To this resolution Bishop Soule submitted on the 
same day the following answer : 

Dear Brethren: I feel myself bound in good faith to carry 
out the official plan of Episcopal Visitations as settled by the 
bishops in New York and published in the official papers of the 
Church until the session of the first General Conference of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, from which time it 
would be necessary that the plan should be so changed as to 
be accommodated to the jurisdiction of the two distinct Gen- 
eral Conferences./ That when such Southern General Con- 
ference shall be held I shall feel myself fully authorized by 
the Plan of Separation, adopted by the General Conference of 
1844, to unite myself with the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, and if received by the General Conference of said 
Church to exercise the functions of the episcopal office within 
the jurisdiction of said General Conference. 

Joshua Soule. 

Following the adjournment of the Louisville Con- 
vention Bishop Soule became the object of many bitter 
attacks in the press, both secular and religious, in cer- 



244 Life of Joshua Soule. 

tain sections of the country. The time has passed when 
there could be any point, as there was never any satis- 
faction, in either parading or condemning these acerbi- 
ties. The fact is mentioned only because it is a link 
in this history. For the same reason I mention, but 
forbear to enter into any detail concerning, the fact 
that certain Annual Conferences officially criticised the 
venerable Bishop. Other matters which might be ad- 
verted to here will come out in the early development 
of this narrative. , 

As the biographer of Bishop Soule there have fallen 
to me through a succession of hands, beginning with 
those of Bishops Paine and McTyeire, but all of which 
are now folded in sleep, certain autograph letters writ- 
ten by Bishops Morris, Waugh, and Hedding which 
have never been published. They contain facts bear- 
ing on the events of this period of Bishop Soule's life 
that the present and all future generations of American 
Methodists should know. Several of these documents 
are nearing the point of evanishment through fading 
and age, and for this reason, as for others, I have de- 
cided to print them in full as a part of this volume, 
only connecting them by such slight comments as will 
make their contents intelligible to the general reader. 
The first of these letters will show how cordially at 
least two of the bishops of the Church in the North re- 
garded Bishop Soule's contention that he was in of- 
ficial relation to the whole Church until a competent 
body — the General Conference of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South — should meet, pass his character, 
and put him in relation under the new order. 



Cavalier and Puritan. 245 

New York, May 27, 1845. 
Bishop Soule — Dear Brother: In the emergency which has 
arisen in the affairs of our beloved Methodism it appears to 
us that a meeting of the superintendents is very important, if 
not indispensable. The earliest practical period should, in 
our opinion, be fixed on for the meeting; and after an ex- 
amination of the plan of episcopal visitation, we have agreed 
to recommend that the bishops shall meet in this city on 
Wednesday, July 2, 1845, at 8 a.m. If our work had ad- 
mitted of it, we should have been pleased to meet our col- 
leagues at a point more convenient for them; tut as our Con- 
ferences are now in a course of meeting in quick succession, 
it would be impracticable to meet at a more distant point from 
their location. Hoping that you may find it not too incon- 
venient to meet at the time and place above specified, we ear- 
nestly request that you will favor us with your presence on 
the occasion, 
Yours affectionately, E. Hedding. 

P. S. — Bishop Janes, although not present to sign this let- 
ter, concurs in the sentiments expressed. 

Bishop Soule did not meet with the bishops in New 
York, but instead sent a letter in which he expressed 
his conviction that he was under obligation to meet the 
Conferences assigned to him until the session of the 
General Conference in the South. How differently 
the majority of his colleagues viewed the case is set 
forth in the following official communication : 

New York, July 4, 1845. 
To Rev. Bishop Soule — Dear Bishop: Agreeable to appoint- 
ment, a majority of the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church met in New York July 2, 1845. Your letter of the 
7th ultimo directed to Bishop Hedding was presented and 
read. On the first day of the meeting the question was pre- 
sented relative to the superintendents going South to preside 



246 Life of Joshua Soule. 

in the Conferences represented in the Louisville Convention. 
On the second day, after much deliberation in view of the 
resolution of the Louisville Convention in which they declare 
the jurisdiction hitherto exercised over the Annual Confer- 
ences represented in said convention "entirely dissolved," the 
following was adopted : 

"Resolved, That, acting as we do under the authority of 
the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
and amenable to said General Conference, we should not con- 
sider ourselves justified in presiding in said Conferences con- 
formably to the plan of visitation agreed upon at the close of 
the late General Conference and published in the journals of 
the Church." 

The Conferences referred to in the above resolution are 
those represented in the Louisville Convention, including those 
in the episcopal district assigned to Bishops Morris and Janes 
for the present official year. In view of the opinion of their 
colleagues given in the above resolution, Bishops Morris and 
Janes immediately stated to the meeting that they should re- 
spectfully decline going South to preside at those Conferences. 

The meeting took no action relative to your appointments. 
But, thinking perhaps, in view of the decisions of the meeting 
as above stated, you might choose to change your field of 
labor, it was agreed Bishop Morris should be present at the 
Rock River, Iowa, and Illinois Conferences to preside in them 
in case you should decline attending them. 

The resolution of the meeting relating to the superintendents 
presiding in the Southern Conferences will be published im- 
mediately in connection with the resolution of the Louisville 
Convention. 

The meeting agreed to continue to collect the claims of all 
the superintendents as heretofore for the present official year, 
presuming the Southern Conferences would do the same, in- 
cluding the claim of Mrs. Roberts. The meeting instructed 
us as chairman and secretary to give Bishop Soule this state- 
ment of their proceedings. Accept our assurances of esteem 
and fraternal affection. E. Hedding, Chairman; 

Edmund S. Janes, Secretary. 



Cavalier and Puritan. 247 

There being great frankness of thought and confi- 
dence between Bishop Soule and Bishop Morris, the 
former addressed to the latter a letter of judgment 
concerning the action of the bishops. The letter of 
Bishop Morris in reply is a model of the speech of 
courtesy, brotherly frankness, and manly sentiment. 
Its appearance in print can bring no suggestion of re- 
gret concerning the writer to any Methodist, North or 
South : 

Cincinnati, July 21, 1845. 

Rev. Bishop Soule — My Dear Brother: Your letter of the 
19th inst. was received this morning. I went to the meeting 
at New York on a simple notice of it from Bishops Hedding 
and Waugh, which was received unexpectedly and stated no 
definite subject for consultation, but which I regarded as a 
sufficient reason for attending, although I had written to 
Bishop Janes immediately after the Louisville Convention my 
purpose of going South this year according to the published 
plan if there was no change. I give our beloved colleagues 
full credit as to their belief honestly expressed that such a 
meeting was necessary. You are right in supposing that 
Bishop Janes and I were in the minority in passing the pub- 
lished resolution. We have not changed our opinion on the 
main principle — that is, we do not think that mere conven- 
tional action destroys our jurisdiction over the Southern Con- 
ferences. Had we been left to our own convictions without 
any further advice or direction from our colleagues, we should 
have felt bound by our official responsibility to go forward 
on our regular divisions of the work South and take conse- 
quences, fearful as they might have been. But while we could 
not record our names in favor of the resolution, we could and 
did agree to abide the judgment of our colleagues. Our right 
to go South was disputed by many; and had we gone against 
the advice of our colleagues, it would have been considered 
an aggravation of the supposed offense. We thought it prudent 



248 Life of Joshua Souk. 

to decline for the sake of order and peace, and hence our 
notice to the Conferences interested. 

In regard to yourself, no one of the bishops present or repre- 
sented by letter disputed or doubted your legal right or au- 
thority to preside in any Conference North, the editorial de- 
cisions to the contrary notwithstanding. Yet most of them 
judged that some different arrangement was expedient, and 
the reason why it was not effected by a simple change in the 
usual way was that they who were of opinion that Bishop 
Janes and I could not be justified in going South were of 
course of opinion that they could not send you or any other 
in our place. Still it was supposed that under the circum- 
stances, and especially in view of the destitution of the Con- 
ferences South, you would prefer to go there at once. Hence 
the conditional provision for your Conferences North. Allow 
me to add that every individual in the board expressed for 
yourself no feelings but those of respect and kindness. In 
view of the whole ground, I am well persuaded there is noth- 
ing better that can now be done than what you suggest. I 
therefore cordially agree to your request to attend Rock River, 
Iowa, and Illinois Conferences for you, that you may be left 
free to do the work which, under the published plan, would 
have fallen to me or as much thereof as you may be able 
to do. 

Your views respecting the management of the border work 
are in perfect accordance with my own. The ground taken 
in some of the principal Advocates that the whole Plan of 
Separation is a nullity can never be adopted by the majority 
without the greatest inconsistency. On this subject my own 
mind was once rather unsettled last winter; but my mature 
judgment is that there is no power in the Methodist Episcopal 
Church that can nullify an act of the General Conference in 
the interim of its sessions except on a constitutional question 
referred to the Annual Conferences for confirmation or rejec- 
tion, in which case they may render the act void by with- 
holding its requisite constitutional majority. The bishops when 
together in New York took action respecting this subject. 
It is perhaps unfortunate that we did not order it to be pub- 



Cavalier and Puritan. 249 

lished. A fear of increasing needless controversy was prob- 
ably the chief reason, but I am persuaded now more than ever 
that it would have tended to peace. I do not know whether 
you have been furnished with a copy or not. If you have 
not and desire it, I will send you a copy. The action is in 
the form of two resolutions. The first declares that the order 
respecting the border work as set forth in the Plan of Separa- 
tion is of binding obligation in the premises, so far as our 
administration is concerned, and the second defines what may 
be regarded as sufficient evidence that a charge or society 
decides by majority to go North or South — viz., authentic 
documentary testimony either in the form of minutes of a 
meeting regularly called for the purpose or a simple request in 
writing, waiving the names of a majority. It was thought 
that anything short of this would open a door for imposition 
on the appointing power and also on societies and charges. 

I reached B * on my return from New York an hour 

after the final adjournment, but learned they had a quiet and 
pleasant session. No charge or society in the bounds of the 
Conference requested any change of relation, and the question 
of separation was not mooted in Conference or elsewhere. 
Their decrease was largely over 2,000 members. 

Brother William Holman, of Kentucky, has been invited to 
remove to New Orleans and with consent of the proper au- 
thority to take charge of New Orleans District and reside in 
the city. In a conversation with me before I left Louisville 
he seemed inclined to go. Brother W. Winans recently wrote 
to me urging that arrangement, and I think favorably of it, 
as Brother Holman's very superior pastoral habits render 
him suitable for the work there. He is also a good presiding 
elder, but I must refer the whole matter now to yourself. 
I shall at any time be pleased to correspond with you. With 
sentiments of high respect and feelings of sincere affection, 
I am yours in the bonds of a peaceful gospel, whether we labor 
together or in fields remote from each other. 

Tho. A. Morris. 

*Baltimore. 



250 Life of Joshua Soule. 

A second letter from Bishop Morris, written nine 
days later, is filled with information for this and yet 
future days of Methodism. Its bearings on present- 
da)' questions of federation and comity are important 
and significant to the last degree. If the spirit of this 
letter had been carried out — if it could be carried out 
to-day — a new era would dawn for dissevered Metho- 
dism, happily now made more nearly a unity in senti- 
ment than for sixty-six years past : 

Cincinnati, July 30, 1845. 

Rev. Bishop Soule — Dear Brother: I called this morning at 
the Book Room for the first time in a week past, having been 
some days at Covington, Ky., assisting the brethren in an 
extra meeting, and consequently did not receive your letter 
of the 23d inst. till to-day, otherwise it should have been an- 
swered sooner. 

It is not probable that I shall be able to see you at the Mis- 
souri Conference, having to meet, the Indiana Conference Oc- 
tober 8; but anything that may transpire at the Illinois Con- 
ference having any bearing on your Missouri work shall be 
communicated by letter if I cannot see you. I understand it 
to be the settled purpose of all our colleagues, as it certainly 
is mine, to conform our administration strictly to the first and 
second resolutions of the Plan of Separation as far as practica- 
ble. That some very hard cases may arise under the practical 
operation of these rules, especially as to interior societies and 
minority members of border societies, is easily foreseen ; but 
as the bishops do not make these cases, neither have they 
power, so far as I know, to relieve them consistently with the 
Plan of Separation. It is an item of public news that some 
two hundred members in St. Louis have expressed their de- 
termination to remain in the Methodist Episcopal Church; but 
whether these form a majority of one charge or are gleaned 
from several, I am not informed. If the former, the case 
would seem to be manageable ; but if the latter, what could 
be done? what ought to be done? Again, the German mis- 



Cavalier and Puritan. 251 

sions, I have learned informally, would wish to remain in 
connection with the Methodist Episcopal Church. I mean 
those of the St. Louis District branching out into the Rock 
River, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri Conferences, while those 
at New Orleans and Mobile would prefer the M. E. Church, 
South. 

Brother Nast called on me for information as to their case, 
and I ventured to express the impression that, while the Ger- 
man missions of New Orleans and Mobile would necessarily 
fall under the jurisdiction of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, those in the St. Louis District might go altogether 
with whichever side they preferred, according to Resolution 
1 ; for though some of the country missions either side might 
not be strictly on the border, they were under regulations dif- 
ferent from other societies as to Conference lines, and it might 
operate injuriously to their welfare to separate them, there 
being only one district of the whole. What do you think of 
this view of the case? 

During our meeting in New York Brothers Lane and Tip- 
pett submitted to us a question as to their authority to pay 
the dividends of the Book Concern to the Southern Confer- 
ences. A majority of the bishops thought it inexpedient to 
express any official opinion in the premises, lest it might be 
used hereafter in case of possible litigation. I ascertained, 
however, that Bishops Hedding, Waugh, Janes, and Hamline 
all believed as I do that the dividends should be paid as here- 
tofore. The Book Agents both at New York and Cincinnati 
are anxious that they should be paid, both as a matter of 
equity and of policy. Yet fears were entertained that the Book 
Committee at New York would order otherwise. Whether 
the question is settled or not, I am not informed. So far 
as I recollect, nothing was said as to the family support of 
the bishops either in our meeting for consultation or by the 
Book Agents. If definite information is received in time to 
act on your request where I preside, it shall be attended to. 

I send you a copy of the two resolutions respecting the 
border work. It was concluded by the bishops that, as they 
were intended to harmonize our own administration and were 



252 Life of Joshua Soule. 

adverse to the opinions so confidently expressed by the lead- 
ing Northern Advocates, it would occasion less excitement 
and difficulty to let them be made known in the regular course 
of administration than to publish them in the papers. This, 
I am fully persuaded, was an innocent mistake. They should 
have accompanied the published resolution. It would have 
been better for all concerned. I wrote last week to Bishop 
Janes, our Secretary, requesting him if he concurred with me 
to obtain, if practicable, the consent of our colleagues by letter 
to publish them, with what success is yet unknown. In the 
meantime I think it entirely proper that Bishop Andrew should 
have a copy for his own use. 1 would not wish to be the oc- 
casion of making them public without the consent of my col- 
leagues. These, I believe, are all the points adverted to in 
your letter, and I will add only one or two remarks. 

The violence of spirit indulged in by some of the editors 
and their correspondents toward yourself and the Southern 
brethren since the Louisville Convention is reacting against 
their own views and measures, as might have been expected, 
and subdivision is likely after all to taper off to a compara- 
tively narrow point. So much the better for all concerned. 

As separation is now inevitable, my chief concern is that 
our worse than needless controversy should be speedily ter- 
minated, that the Church funds should be fairly divided with- 
out litigation, that terms of friendly recognition and mutual 
transfers of preachers and members should be agreed upon, 
and that we may live, love, and labor as brethren in the vine- 
yard of our common Maker. 

Yours sincerely, Tho. A. Morris. 

The last of this series of communications is cumu- 
lative of the spirit of fraternity, frankness, and consti- 
tutional action, dominant at this time in the adminis- 
tration ; for let it still be understood that the Southern 
jurisdiction did not begin until nearly a year later — 
namely, with the General Conference which met at Pe- 
tersburg, Va., in May, 1846. 



Cavalier and Puritan. 



253 



St. Louis, September 29, 1845. 

Rev. Bishop Soule — Dear Brother: Having learned of the 
Book Agents that the dividends would be paid to the Confer- 
ences South, I presented the Bishops' claims according to the 
old estimate, including those of Bishop Andrew and yourself, 
which were cheerfully paid by the Rock River and Iowa Con- 
ferences. At Illinois they demurred, laid the subject over, dis- 
cussed it, and finally refused to pay the claims of yourself and 
Bishop Andrew by a large majority. Subsequently I pre- 
sented the claims of the other bishops, according to the new 
estimate, which were paid. I regretted such a state of things, 
but could not control it. 

The German missions in Missouri all applied, and I think 
by a unanimous vote of the members, to be recognized at 
the Illinois Conference, as did all the missionaries connected 
with them, and were accordingly attached to said Conference. 
To this measure there was some opposition from such men 
as wished the German missionaries to remain and help to 
form a "Missouri Conference of the M. E. Church;" but I 
foresaw they must be received or left to suffer, as they had 
decided not to come under the new organization, and I re- 
ceived them the more readily because the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, has a full proportion of missionary work and 
expense exclusively of the German work. The German mis- 
sions in Missouri are all comfortably provided for. Those at 
New Orleans and Mobile we of course took no account of. 
No English station in Missouri desired recognition at Illinois. 
None applied except the "same two hundred members" in St. 
Louis, who requested me in writing through a committee to 
appoint Brother J. M. Jameson, of the Missouri Conference, 
as their pastor, which I declined doing, (1) because they, 
being minority members of several charges, did not come 
under the rule providing for border stations; (2) because 
Brother Jameson as a member of the Missouri Conference 
had not given me authority to appoint him anywhere. If any- 
thing can be done consistently for these unfortunate brethren, 
misled by such as ought to know better, it would be well to 



254 Life of Joshua Soule. 

interpose some means for their relief. I do not now see how 
I can do anything for them. 

Brother Wilson S. McMurray, of the Missouri Conference, 
gave me notice that he desired to remain in the Methodist 
Episcopal Church and that he wished to hail from the Illinois 
Conference, and he was received and appointed to a circuit. 
Brother Crawford, of the Arkansas Conference, was recog- 
nized at the Iowa Conference on the same ground and ap- 
pointed to work there. On the other hand, S. W. D. Chace 
and N. G. Berryman, of the Illinois Conference, go South, 
according to Rule 2 of the Plan of Separation. I did not give 
them regular transfers because I doubted my authority to 
assign them to any one of the Conferences from which my 
jurisdiction had been withdrawn; but I did furnish them with 
a testimonial that they were in good standing and that the 
Illinois Conference had approved their characters, which, I 
doubt not,' will place them unembarrassed in your hands. 
Brother N. P. Cunningham, a man of good repute, located 
with a view, it is said, of reentering the work in the Missouri 
Conference this year or next; and, lastly, Dr. J. P. Rich- 
mond, who was approved by the Conference and was ap- 
pointed to the Rushville Circuit, repented and gave notice that 
he was going South after the Conference adjourned. The 
notice was unreasonable; but, in view of all circumstances, I 
concluded to release him from his appointment and let him 
go, and furnished him with a note to that effect to be used 
if he desired it on mature reflection. 

The Illinois Conference passed a series of resolutions going 
to say that the action of the General Conference on the Plan ■ 
of Separation was unconstitutional, a nullity, and should not 
be regarded, etc. One resolution requested the bishops of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church to visit Kentucky and Missouri 
this fall and hold Conferences with the minority preachers, 
which I promptly informed them would not be done. I did 
not think it proper to interfere with the free expression of 
their opinions as a Conference, but reserved the right and 
expressed the purpose of conforming my administration to 
the rule of the General Conference in the premises. (The 



Cavalier and Puritan. 255 

decrease of members in the Illinois Conference this year is 
over 2,000. Methodism there is at ebb tide.) These are all the 
items now remembered which are necessary for me to report 
in view of the transaction of your business, and I have no 
wish to inflict anything more upon you, as your time is fully 
occupied. I have thus far endeavored in all things to observe 
the rule given us respecting separation, not, however, without 
some difficulty and even modest hints of a day of reckoning 
in 1848. In regard to that, however, I am but little concerned. 

Disease and death abound to a fearful extent in Illinois this 
year. I signed the Journal of the Illinois Conference Thurs- 
day night at twelve o'clock, traveled sixty miles on Friday, 
forty on Saturday, and reached St. Louis at 3 p.m. and learned 
that you had just passed on. I preached yesterday in Cen- 
tenary Church, and expect to leave by the first boat for Madi- 
son, Iowa. I send this hurried scrawl by Brother Snormstide, 
who can tell you the balance. 

Yours with profound respect and sincere affection, 

Tho. A. Morris. 

The first General Conference of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South (being the sixteenth General Con- 
ference since the organization of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church in America, in 1784), met in Petersburg, 
Va., on May 1, 1846. Bishop Andrew not being pres- 
ent and Bishop Soule not having formally given in his 
adherence to the Church, South, Dr. John Early was 
elected President pro tern. On the second day Bishop 
Andrew arrived and took the chair. On the same day 
Bishop Soule sent the following communication to the 
Conference : 

Petersburg, May 2, 1846. 

Rev. and Dear Bnethren: I consider your body, now or- 
ganized, as the consummation of the organization of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in conformity to the 
"Plan of Separation" adopted by the General Conference of 



256 Life of Joshua Soule. 

the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1844. It is therefore in 
strict agreement with the provisions of that body that you 
are vested with full power to transact all business appropriate 
to a Methodist General Conference. 

I view this organization as having been commenced in the 
"Declaration" of the delegates of the Conferences in the 
slaveholding States, made at New York in 1844, an d as having 
advanced in its several stages in the "Protest," the "Plan of 
Separation," the appointment of delegates to the Louisville 
Convention, in the action of that body, in the subsequent 
action of the Annual Conferences, approving the acts of their 
delegates at the convention, and in the appointment of dele- 
gates to this General Conference. The organization of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, being thus completed in 
the organization of the General Conference with a constitu- 
tional president, the time has arrived when it is proper for 
me to announce my position. Sustaining no relation to one 
Annual Conference which I did not sustain to every other, and 
considering the General Conference as the proper judicatory 
to which my communication should be made. I have declined 
making this announcement until the present time. And now, 
acting with strict regard to the "Plan of Separation," and under 
solemn conviction of duty, I formally declare my adherence 
to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. And if the Con- 
ference receive me in my present relation to the Church, I 
am ready to serve them according to the best of my ability. 
In conclusion, I indulge the joyful assurance that, although 
separated from our Northern brethren by a distinct Confer- 
ence jurisdiction, we shall never cease to treat them as "breth- 
ren beloved" and cultivate those principles and affections 
which constitute the essential unity of the Church of Christ. 

(Signed) Joshua Soule. 

To this communication the Conference responded 
with the following resolution : 

?- Resolved by the delegates of the several Annual Confer- 
ences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in General 



Cavalier and Puritan. 257 

Conference assembled, That, fully agreeing with Bishop Soule 
as it regards his right of action in the premises by authority 
of the General Conference of 1844, we cheerfully and unani- 
mously recognize him as bishop of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, with all the constitutional rights and privi- 
leges pertaining to his office as bishop of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church. H. B. Bascom, 

William Winans. 

And thus was sealed the allegiance to which the log- 
ic, the loyalties, and the faith of his life had led. Thus 
was the Puritan made master in the spiritual house of 
the Cavalier. Thus was strangely answered for him 
the question of his boyish heart, when in a pent-up val- 
ley of Maine he cried to the birch wolds and the blue 
horizon far beyond — cried in a language that he him- 
self could not fully interpret : "Shall I ever see those 
fragrant lands where are the feet of the great Wash- 
ington, and where the heroes are ?" He saw the land 
of Washington and Jefferson, of Asbury and Jesse 
Lee- — he saw and conquered it through a spirit master- 
ful like the spirits of its greatest and best. And they 
of that land opened their hearts to him, and in their 
hearts kept him to the end with an all but idolatrous 
reverence. 
17 



CHAPTER XV. 
The Master in Israel. 

When the Senior Bishop of Methodism gave in his 
letter of adherence to the Southern General Confer- 
ence, he was near the completion of his sixty-fifth year. 
One of his younger and later colleagues, who, then but 
a stripling, witnessed the scene and had his eyes rivet- 
ed on the great ecclesiastic, said of him : "He was very 
erect, and when he sat down seemed taller than a man 
of six feet might be. A glance at his face fixed a no- 
ble image on my mind, which time cannot erase, and 
which does not grow older with the years." He was 
even then a venerable man in everything which that 
term signifies. And who could have dreamed that 
there were before him more than a score of years — 
that he was to outlive most of the leaders of that gen- 
eration, having already outlived those of another gen- 
eration ? But it was so ; he was to go on to see his four- 
score years, and then, because the fulfilling days were 
dark with war and strife, Heaven added yet a lustrum 
more that his eyes might close in times of tranquillity 
and peace. 

Soon after the adjournment of the General Confer- 
ence of 1846, Bishop Soule removed his residence from 
Lebanon, Ohio, where he had lived since 1824, to Nash- 
ville, Tenn. A bishop's home, or parsonage, had been 
provided for him by the wealthy congregation of Mc- 
Kendree Church, assisted by well-to-do Methodist res- 
(258) 



The Master in Israel. 259 

idents in the State, including several ministers of 
means. The home was located on what is now Sixth 
Avenue and but a few blocks from the center of the 
city. Before the coming of the Bishop and the other 
members of the family from Ohio to their new home, 
Mrs. Maria Soule Van-Dyke, a widowed daughter, suf- 
fering from tuberculosis, visited in the homes of Drs. 
A. L. P. Green and John B. McFerrin. She was an at- 
tractive and accomplished woman, and won in the 
hearts of the local Church people a large place for the 
family, in addition to that already preempted by the 
name and fame of her venerable father. Only a year 
after the settlement of the family in Nashville this 
daughter died, the first of the circle to find sepulture in 
the soil that is forever honored in holding the ashes of 
her sire. 

The General Conference of 1846 found little work to 
do; there was no desire for novelty or change. "The 
Discipline as it is," was the motto of those days, the 
spirit of which is good for all generations of Metho- 
dists. Changes that do not spring from fundamental 
needs are likely to work confusion. But the Confer- 
ence did add to the episcopacy effectively by the elec- 
tion to that office of William Capers and Robert Paine. 
The senior superintendent continued in infirm health, 
and, with two young colleagues given him by the 
Church, was not under the necessity of taking so great 
a burden of labor as he had carried in the undivided 
Church; but he was far from remaining inactive, and 
kept his hand on the helm to be sure that the craft 
launched under new conditions should be held to the 
chart of constitutional safety. 



260 Life of Joshua Soule. 

A new and serious question arose as early as 1846, 
even earlier, relating to the adjustment of the stations 
along the border. It persists to this day. It is very 
far from my purpose or wish to revive the memory of 
old resentments or add to those which unfortunately 
subsist to-day. In my office as biographer I cannot, 
however, choose but record the -facts of this question as 
they confronted Bishop Soule and his colleagues. 

In the summer or early autumn of 1847 a meeting 
of the bishops was called for Louisville. This was 
done that the superintendents who had the Ohio River 
and trans-Mississippi Conferences to hold might be 
well on their way, and also on their proper dates. Bish- 
ops Soule, Andrew, and Paine were at this meeting; 
but Bishop Capers, through sickness in his family, 
which delayed him in setting out, and through other 
causes, was unable to reach the sitting of his colleagues. 
One of the chief topics discussed at this meeting was 
the policy of the Southern bishops in dealing with 
these border matters. The decision readily reached 
was that they would implicitly observe the Plan of Sep- 
aration. On this point Bishop Capers, in a letter to 
Bishop Soule, the unpublished autograph copy of which 
is before me, said : 

In any event, it does not appear to me (as I have yet been 
able to see) that it could be consistent for us to send preach- 
ers to constitute separate Churches among them, or that such 
a procedure might be pleasing to God, promotive of true re- 
ligion, or beneficial to the Church, South. It would imply 
a persuasion on our part, far from what we really believe, 
that with the same articles of faith and doctrines of religion 
to the smallest particular and with the same form of govern- 
ment and discipline there exists cause enough in the naked 



The Master in Israel. 261 

part of a difference of opinion about slavery and abolition for 
the erection of altar against altar in States where the law 
of the land is not concerned and the question can only be 
an abstraction. And I am persuaded that very little, if any, 
of this invasion policy can be pursued without breaking up 
the foundation principle of itinerancy by introducing a cor- 
ruption among us that will hold back bishops and Conferences, 
while Cincinnati, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore City 
shall put the whole connection under tributes to them and 
make their electioneering bargains with popular preachers 
for their most important appointments. I am free to confess 
that even if the Plan of Separation should be declared null 
and void by the Northern General Conference of '48 I could 
not with my present views send a preacher to an interior ap- 
pointment North without being guilty of schism. We have 
nothing more to do with them, as I think, but to love them 
and pray for them. And so if they should send preachers 
among us it would be altogether wrong. Still as wrong can- 
not work right, if they should do so, I would not retaliate. 

The crucial event of this period was now drawing 
near — the session of the General Conference of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of 
America, to convene in Pittsburg in May, 1848. Deep- 
ly desirous of fraternal relations with their brethren in 
the North, the delegates assembled in the Southern 
General Conference had appointed Dr. Lovick Pierce 
to bear to the General Conference at Pittsburg their 
greetings and overtures of fraternity. Bishop Soule 
and his colleagues had also prepared an address to be 
presented by this delegate. And yet another matter was 
to come before the Pittsburg sitting — namely, the ad- 
justment of the claims of the Church, South, against the 
Book Concern and the chartered Fund. These matters 
gave to the Pittsburg General Conference an unusual 



262 Life of Joshua Soule. 

importance from the standpoint of the South. The is- 
sue is known, and need be put here in the fewest words. 
The Conferences did not see fit to receive the Southern 
delegate or to enter into any "fraternization with the 
Church, South." Moreover, as the Annual Conferences 
in the North had failed to support a proposition to di- 
vide the funds of the Church, the Plan of Separation 
was declared to be null and void. But since responsible 
annalists of the Church, North, have characterized this 
Conference as "radical and revolutionary," no word 
is necessary from this side. It was the one blunder 
of the General Conference of 1844, in drafting the Plan 
of Separation, that it made the division of the Church 
funds dependent upon a vote of the Annual Confer- 
ences. The power of the General Conference to divide 
the Church was the power to divide its funds ; in fact, 
the dual division was accomplished in one and the same 
act. The allotting to the South of its part was not an 
"appropriation" of the funds, and hence did not come 
under the restrictive rule of the constitution, but was 
simply a continuance of them to their legal use under 
changed conditions. The refusal of the Annual Con- 
ferences to ratify, had it been made to hold, would have 
left the Southern Church in the attitude of a secession. 
It was taken for granted in 1844 that the Annual Con- 
ferences even in the North would not hesitate to affirm 
the action of the general body. Possibly it was his- 
torically fortunate that they did not do so. The civil 
courts later adjudged the case and put the Plan of Sep- 
aration on the high ground upon which the South 
claimed it had been created and should stand. There it 
stands to-day, the generous and just spirit of the Meth- 



The Master in Israel. 263 

odism of the North having, long ago, fully and com- 
pletely accepted it in its original intent. 

This brings me to the place where I can pertinently 
introduce the last of the unpublished papers of Bishop 
Soule which have been left in my hands. It is one 
which bears directly on not a few of the points involved 
in the actions of the General Conference of 1848, and 
I am sure every student of Methodist history will wel- 
come it as shedding a helpful light on the events of 
those days : 

Having in sincerity and good faith made the proposition 
for the permanent establishment of a fraternal relation between 
the two bodies, which proposition has been promptly rejected 
by the Church, North, it now becomes our duty to pursue our 
one great work of seeking the salvation of the souls of the 
people, whether bond or free, committed to our charge, without 
the auxiliary aid or fraternal intercourse with our Northern 
brethren, so far as the act of the General Conference can 
defeat that intercourse. In doing this, fearless of consequences, 
believing that we are sustained by apostolic authority, leaving 
the relation of civil society to the secular authorities of the 
countries to which they lawfully appertain, we will direct and 
apply our efforts both in our ecclesiastical councils and in the 
ministry of the gospel of Christ to the one great object of 
bringing our fellow-men in every relation and condition in 
life to a "saving knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus," fully 
believing that the leaven of our holy Christianity is the safest 
and surest remedy which we as a branch of the Church of 
Christ can apply for the prevention or cure of any evils which 
may exist in society. Earnestly and sincerely as we may 
desire to fraternize with every evangelical denomination of 
Christians, and especially with every legitimate branch of the 
Wesleyan Methodist family both at home and abroad, we 
should regard such fraternity as purchased at too great a 
sacrifice if it involved any terms or provisions which might 
operate as a barrier to our access to the hundreds of thou- 



264 Life of Joshua Soule. 

sands of the colored population of the slaveholding States of 
this confederacy. 1 

While we havs such a charge on our hands, and while a 
great and effectual door of access to this vast and needy- 
population is now open before us, let us not regard it as a 
matter of momentous account, either that our proposition of 
fraternal relations should have been rejected or that we should 
be denounced as a "pro-slavery" Church, and that the design 
of our organization was to build up and perpetuate the in- 
stitution of "slavery," especially as we know assuredly that 
these allegations have no foundation in truth. All these things 
may be regarded as "light in the balance" when compared 
with the success of our missionary labors among the slaves 
only for the last four years. 2 Let us double our diligence 
in this our great and truly legitimate work, and leave our 
Northern friends to "fight as those that beat the air." But 
let us be aware that we do but injure ourselves by "rendering 
evil for evil" or "railing for railing;" but rather as far as 
possible let us live peaceably with all men, never forgetting 
that "he that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and 
he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city," and that 
"a soft answer turneth away wrath." 

The General Conference of 1846 by resolution re- 
quested Bishop Soule to write the life of his great col- 
league, Bishop McKendree, and it would seem that 
he at one time meditated entering upon that task; but 
it was never undertaken, and the honor finally fell to 
his younger colleague, Bishop Paine, whose two-vol- 
umed biography of McKendree appeared several years 
after Bishop Soule's death. 

I have already spoken of the visit of Dr. Dixon, the 

1 This refers to the Federal republic, and not the Confed- 
eracy of 1861-65. 

2 This fixes the date of the paper — 1850, "four years" from 
1846, the date of the first Southern General Conference. 



The Master in Israel. 265 

fraternal delegate from England to the General Con- 
ference in the North, and of his attachment to and his 
enthusiastic admiration for Bishop Soule. Touching 
the Bishop's adherence to the South, this brilliant 
preacher and Church statesman wrote in a volume of 
American reminiscences, published in 1849, as follows: 

He entered fully into the subject of his connection with 
the South, saying he supposed we would be surprised at the 
event. He avowed that he acted from the dictates of his 
conscience, believing that he' should be best enabled in the 
section of the Church he had chosen to advance the interests 
of his Master's kingdom. Everybody who knows Bishop Soule 
must receive this testimony. He is incapable of equivocation 
or of anything dishonorable. He avowed that his convictions 
of the evil of slavery had undergone no change; it was as 
much the object of his abhorrence as ever. His explanations 
of his conduct amounted to this : that, in his opinion, the only 
possible way of ever reaching a measure of emancipation lay 
in bringing the population of the South, masters and slaves, 
under the influence of the gospel; and that the only means of 
accomplishing this was not in agitating the question but in 
quietly preaching the truth to both, leaving it in the provi- 
dence of God to work its own results ; moreover, that for 
ministers to agitate the question of emancipation would in- 
fallibly cause the planters of the South to shut the door 
against all attempts at evangelization, and have the effect of 
leaving masters and servants in their sins. 

After residing some years in the bishop's home at 
Nashville, Bishop Soule purchased a farm some miles 
from Franklin, about two hours' drive by carriage from 
Nashville. The estate consisted of fifty acres, with a 
substantial manor or farmhouse. Here the Bishop 
lived during a period of marked infirmity, the Genera! 
Conference having left it to his discretion as to the na- 
ture and extent of the labors he was to perform. In 



266 Life of Joshua Soule. 

an outdoor life, looking to the care of his meadows 
and the cultivation of his crofts and garden, he experi- 
enced great benefit and in a measure recovered the 
strength he was to need so much in the trying years 
before him. 

Dr. William M. Green, a son of Dr. A. L. P. Green, 
himself now one of the veterans of the Tennessee Con- 
ference, has recited to me not a few of the interesting 
incidents of this period of the Bishop's life. He recalls 
vividly having, about the year 1850, driven Bishop 
Capers from his father's suburban residence to Bishop 
Soule's home, in Williamson County. The entire day 
was spent in the company of Bishop Soule and his wife. 
Dr. Green, though then but a youth and unfamiliar with 
the wider reach of Church affairs, recalls that the two 
Bishops spent most of the time discussing the divi- 
sion of the Church, the unsettled claims of the South, 
and the growth of an unfraternal sentiment over the 
events then but recently passed. Bishop Soule read to 
Bishop Capers an article or paper which he had written 
on the subject, to which the latter gave the closest at- 
tention. Mrs. Soule, coming in near the close of the 
reading, expressed the greatest sorrow at the condition 
of the Church, but both she and the Bishop were in the 
fullest accord with the attitude of the Methodism of 
the South. It is of more than passing interest here to 
mention that I have, after comparison of dates and 
facts, become convinced that the paper which Dr. Green 
heard the Bishop read in his home is none other than 
the one which appears on page 263 of this biography. 
It was doubtless meant to be published in some one or 
other of the Church journals or read at a public meet- 



The Master in Israel. 267 

ing or possibly to be used as a pastoral to the preach- 
ers of the connection, but, clearly, was never used in 
either way. However, that the paper represented the 
generous Christian sentiments of the aged Bishop's 
heart there can never be a question. 

The General Conference of 1850 added Rev. Dr. 
Henry B. Bascom to the College of Bishops ; but that 
brilliant preacher and astute Church statesman was not 
long spared to Methodism. He died suddenly on Sep- 
tember 8, 1850, but a few months after his consecration 
to the episcopacy. To Bishop Bascom the Methodism 
of the South owed the masterful Church papers pre- 
sented in its defense in 1844 and the equally great pa- 
per which served as the basis of procedure in the Louis- 
ville Convention. At the consecration of Bishop Bas- 
com the Senior Bishop was only able to totter to his 
feet and lay his venerable hands upon the princely head 
of his newest colleague ; but when, in 1854, the General 
Conference called to the bishopric that immortal trio, 
Pierce, Early, and Kavanaugh, he found himself pos- 
sessed again of so much of his old strength as to be 
able to take the leading part in their ordination. It 
was at this time that, a longing having taken possession 
of his heart to revisit the scenes of his youth and join 
in a reunion of the remaining members of his father's 
family, he requested leave of the General Conference 
to be absent on the pilgrimage. To this request the 
Conference answered with a hearty and affectionate 
concurrence and ordered the Agents of the Church to 
place at his disposal the necessary funds for his ex- 
penses. It was characteristic of this master in Israel, 
this prince amongst rulers, that he did nothing without 



268 Life of Joshua Soule. 

authorization. He who made the law and exacted 
fealty to it from others gave fealty in the full measure 
of a loyal and obedient mind. In 1844, when an aca- 
demic honor was offered him from Europe, he laid the 
offer before the General Conference and asked per- 
mission before he would ever treat in the matter. The 
half of his nature lay along the sunny levels of gentle- 
ness, and from these the rugged highlands of his mas- 
tery took breath and color. 

As late as 1853, though called a superannuate, he 
felt able to undertake the episcopal care of the Confer- 
ence on the Pacific Coast, and made the long voyage by 
way of Panama. This voyage was repeated in 1854. 
While in California he preached constantly, Sundays 
and secular days, and visited in every part of the State 
where the Church had stations. He was the first of our 
bishops to set foot on the Golden Shore. On his first 
visit he spent six months, and was during that time the 
recipient of many attentions, the Governor of the State 
making him his guest while at the capital. It was the 
successful accomplishment of this journey that led him 
to think of a pilgrimage to the shrines and associations 
of his childhood. By 1855 he was deemed again too 
much enfeebled to take any share of the episcopal visi- 
tations. For the years 1855 and 1856 no appointment 
was assigned him other than to visit the Tennessee Con- 
ference in company with one of his colleagues ; but in 
1857 and 1858 not even this formality was laid upon 
him. He was thenceforward the patriarch from whom 
none would take a sign of his office, nor yet of him ex- 
act a single requirement, but to whom all rendered un- 
feigned obeisance of heart. He had given up home and 



The Master in Israel. 269 

kindred and honors for the people of the South. They 
gave him in return — themselves. 

Some time near the beginning of the year 1855 tne 
Bishop established his residence on the Gallatin Pike, 
about seven miles from Nashville. The place was op- 
posite the now famous City Road Chapel, and consisted 
of meadows, an orchard, a garden, and a few acres un- 
der tillage. The farmhouse was a modest but most 
cozy and restful place, and there the venerable man in- 
dulged to the fullest extent his love of reading and gar- 
dening. The years of his retirement, aside from what 
were given to worship, his family, and his friends, were 
divided between his library and the plants and flowers 
of his garden. He was an omnivorous reader, and his 
tastes in literature were catholic and classic. I should 
judge him to be the most rounded self-made scholar of 
his century. 

On the Gallatin Pike farm he spent the remnant of 
his days, saving the last few months, which were spent 
in the city of Nashville. On May 27, 1857, his wife — a 
woman who through fifty- four years of life proved her- 
self to be worthy of so great a husband — entered into 
rest and was laid beside the daughter who had gone 
ten years before. Strong, courageous, and confident of 
the future though he was, "he refused to take a poetic 
or romantic view of death." He was deeply moved at 
separation from the companion of his life and heart. 
Loyally and affectionately they had walked together. 
No lack of faith had ever estranged their thoughts. It 
was with the choking grief of a lover that he saw the 
dust take back its own. 

The session of the famous General Conference of 



270 Life of Joshua Sonle. 

1858, which was held in the Hall of Representatives of 
the Tennessee Capitol, found him a superannuate in all 
but the completest sense ; and yet he was able to be in 
constant attendance upon its sittings. In that justly ex- 
tolled work of art, the steel engraving by Buttre, of 
New York, which shows the Conference of 1858 in one 
of its sittings, his majestic face and form assert a si- 
lent primacy over that assembly of leaders. He was 
asked by resolution of the Conference to preach at some 
hour during the session when his strength would seem 
to admit of the necessary physical exertion. This he 
agreed to do, but I find no indication in the Journal that 
he was ever able to fulfill his promise. The benediction 
of his presence was to his brethren more eloquent and 
effective than any sermon could have been. His life had 
been a sermon that called through all men's hearts. 

The session of the Tennessee Conference which met 
at Athens, Ala., in October, 1861, was, excepting the 
Tennessee sitting at Edgefield in 1865, at which he was 
present only brief whiles, the last regular session of an 
Annual Conference attended by Bishop Soule. Bishop 
John Early was presiding, and his venerable colleague 
was present the entire time as a visitor only. Rev. 
Thomas L. Moody, now a veteran of the Conference, 
was then an undergraduate and also present. Recall- 
ing the scenes of the session, he says : "The reverence 
shown Bishop Soule by the Conference was a contin- 
ual wonder to me. When it appeared that he wished 
to speak, all was attention, and amid silence the entire 
body seemed to lean forward to catch each word. On 
account of age and feebleness, he remained seated 
while speaking. He sat all the while very erect in his 



The Master in Israel. 271 

chair on the rostrum. His presence commanded at- 
tention even when he kept silence." 

After a dozen years of rest and quiet in his modest 
manor, swept round by meadows, swathed with blue 
grass and clover, there came upon the land a crash of 
thunders and a tempest of strife, with an intermittent 
rain of blood. In the War between the States the capi- 
tal was early occupied by the Federal troops. In this 
way the Bishop was completely cut off from communi- 
cation with his colleagues, and was much of the time 
without information concerning the welfare of the 
Church at large. The General Conference which 
should have held its session in 1862, was, through 
stress of war, prevented from assembling. The land 
was filled with alarms and with marching and counter- 
marching armies. In the midst of it all the octogenari- 
an Bishop lived on, unmoved and unterrified. Long in- 
deed had strife's abortive cry assailed his ears — too 
long for him to fear, far too long for him to doubt the 
pledge of the Voice that hushes all. He did not take 
the oath of allegiance to either the North or the South ; 
no man ever required it of him. Into the sanctity of 
the chamber where he sat with his books, nor yet upon 
the miniature demesne of meadows and garden plats 
over which his revered shadow fell, dared no man to 
come asking: "Whose servant art thou?" With poli- 
tics he had never entangled himself. In his judgment 
the Church should eschew partisanship or alliances of 
any sort with secular cabals. So careful was he in 
these matters that for a long time even the members of 
his own family could not locate his sympathies in the 
war then raging about them. It was only through a 



272 Life of Joshua Soule. 

single remark made after one of the great battles of 
the sixties had been fought that he betrayed his pref- 
erence for the arms of the South. 

During the Federal occupation of Nashville and near 
the beginning of the fourth year of the war Bishop 
Soule called a conference of such of the preachers as 
were within reach to meet at City Road Chapel, the 
church near his home. The occasion of the call was 
this : No bishop had been able to visit the Conferences 
in Tennessee for more than two years past. At the 
session held at Cornersville in 1862 a number of itin- 
erants had been elected to deacon's and elder's orders, 
and they now desired Bishop Soule to ordain them. To 
attend to these offices and to give such pastoral ad- 
vice as he could, he summoned them to an interview. 
At this time an article appeared in a Nashville daily 
paper edited under Federal censorship virulently at- 
tacking Bishop Soule and styling his ordination meet- 
ing a "Grayback Conference," referring to the gray 
uniforms of the Confederate troops. Grand, suffering 
old man ! God permitted him to live to see the Church 
once "peeled and scattered and meted out" prepare to 
renew its youth and recover its wasted heritage. And if 
it is granted him to look down from the towers of the 
distant spiritual city where they have crowned him, he 
sees to-day, in the millions who worship at the altars 
he loved, a vision that helps to gladden his triumphant 
soul. 



CHAPTER XVI. 
The Evening Bell. 

When the days of peace came, following the car- 
nage and iron mandates of war, they found the man 
of God where he had always been — with his feet on the 
earth, but his head high in the heavens of faith and vi- 
sion. The little manor in the heart of the blue grass 
lands of Middle Tennessee had been a magnet to many 
thousands of hearts during the dark days of war. Now 
it became a shrine to which the feet of many reverently 
and gratefully turned and to which helpful tokens out 
of the poverty of a people once rich found their way. 
The writer of this biography, though of tender years, 
recalls that the name of Bishop Soule was a sound that 
helped, in those first years after strife, to conjure back 
the hopes of those who turned again, each in his way, 
to rebuild the walls of Zion ; nor can he ever forget the 
pall of mourning spread over the heritage of the people 
called Methodists in these ends of the continent when 
the tidings of his death were published. A smothered 
cry along the re-forming ranks of the host was heard : 
"He is gone ! Help, Lord, for the godly man ceaseth. 
Who is left that can lift the spear or bend the bow 
which he has laid down ?" 

But there remain yet other words of this testimony, 
and these I must record before my task is done. 

The three years that fell to Bishop Soule after the 
cessation of war had restored to him the children of his 
18 (273) 



274 Life of Joshua Soule. 

spiritual patriarchate were a season of ripening in 
spiritual grace and of flourishing in intellectual alert- 
ness. He did not begin to die at the top, but his men- 
tality flourished in a youth like the eagle's. 

It is the testimony of all that his conversational pow- 
ers were most unusual. Wit and humor flashed 
through his speech like the noiseless pulsings of 
sheet lightnings through the cumulus clouds of sum- 
mer. His thick, overshadowing brows gave majesty to 
the look of his great, deep eyes, and actually seemed at 
times to cast meaningful shadows into their depths as 
overhanging cliffs mirror themselves in placid lakes. 
So marked, so impressive were his features, and so 
much did they grapple with those who heard him in 
public speech or conversation, that an adept might have 
drawn them in absence after a single study. 

In conversation he was always genial, but never run- 
ning into levity either of thought or speech. His digni- 
ty was the antithesis of austerity. He more frequently 
said "sir" than "brother," though never beat a more 
fraternal heart than his. He shone as the sun of every 
company in which he was placed, and in its sinking that 
sun shone brightest. "In company with a friend," says 
Bishop McTyeire, "I called on him during the last 
months of his life. He received us in his usual bland 
and courtly and affectionate way. Our inquiries after 
his health were answered by quoting in his finest style 
from Ecclesiastes, 'The keepers of the house do trem- 
ble, and the strong men bow themselves, and the grind- 
ers cease because they are few, and those that look out 
of the windows are darkened ;' then, touching his trem- 
bling hand to his head : 'You see, brethren, the almond 



The Evening Bell. 275 

tree flourishes.' On our leaving, and prayer being pro- 
posed, we intimated that he should remain seated. 'No ; 
let me get to my knees' — and, one on each side, we 
helped him down and up." 

The home life of Bishop Soule, like his life in the 
Church and before the public, was one of faith. It is 
remembered by the reader that in the early years of his 
itinerancy he was much of the time a stranger to his 
own household. His long journeys as circuit rider or 
presiding elder through the wilderness reaches of 
Maine kept him often so long from home that on re- 
turning the younger children did not recognize him. 
More than once he found in the cradle a babe whom he 
had not before seen. And yet, through faith and pa- 
tience of the Spirit, husband and wife made home a 
temple of love and joy. Who shall write the life of 
that mother and wife? It is written in his ; in the rec- 
ord which he has left for American Methodism they 
twain are one. 

Eleven children were born to Joshua and Jane Allen 
Soule — namely, Marian, Joshua, Amiba, Jane, Ernes- 
tine, James, Joseph, A., Sarah, William McKendree, 
Martha, and George. The first was born in 1804, and 
the last in 1824. Martha and William McKendree 
were twins. These children have all long since been 
gathered to their parents in death, and, so far as I can 
learn, only three grandchildren survive. These are : 
Prof. E. S. Clark, superintendent of the public schools 
of Henderson, Ky., a gentleman of fine talents and high 
character, a son of Jane Soule Clark, the Bishop's 
third daughter ; the other two are Mrs. Haden, wife of 
the Rev. T. H. Haden, of our Japan Mission, and Miss 



276 Life of Joshua Soule. 

Florence Conwell, the "sister superior" of Wesley Hall, 
gratefully remembered by very many of the young 
preachers of Methodism who have received their theo- 
logical training in that hospitable school of the proph- 
ets. These ladies are the daughters of Martha Soule 
Conwell, twin sister of William McKendree Soule. 
Their father, Dr. Conwell, was at one time a popular 
and successful practitioner in Nashville, but died a 
score or more years ago. 

From 1808, the year of the meeting of the first dele- 
gated General Conference, to 1854 Bishop Soule was 
never absent from any sitting of the general body. But 
when the ever-memorable General Conference of 1866 
met in New Orleans, he was absent, being, though still 
in the body, too feeble to take the long journey from 
his Tennessee home. On the second day of the session 
Dr. John B. McFerrin presented a communication from 
the Bishop conveying his salutations and blessings, 
whereupon the Conference passed a resolution of re- 
sponse which was entered upon the Journal, as follows : 

Resolved, That the General Conference has received with 
deep emotion the communication from the Rev. Bishop Soule 
through Dr. McFerrin, and rejoices to know that he is still 
sustained and comforted by the consolations of our holy re- 
ligion which he has so long lived to preach and to exemplify 
in his useful and honored life, and that this Conference tenders 
to our beloved Senior Bishop its kindest sympathies and prefers 
for him its warmest prayers. 

Ten days later the Journal contained another and 
sadder record : 

Special prayers were offered for the venerable Bishop Soule, 



The Evening Bell, 277 

Bishop Pierce having announced the receipt of the following 
telegram : "Bishop Soule very ill — can live but a few days." 
An announcement which was received by the Conference with 
great emotion. 

It seemed a fitting time for the great man to depart, 
but the hour of his crossing over was to be delayed for 
nearly one full year. He was to be permitted to have 
rehearsed to him, and himself to ponder, all the things 
clone by his sons in the gospel in their great moot after 
the cataclysm of war. That he so weighed and consid- 
ered their work and that he approved it is known. Es- 
pecially would he be gratified at the fact that his own 
wing of the Church had been the first in Episcopal 
Methodism to recognize the parity of laymen in the 
lawmaking assembly. As far back as 1820 he had ex- 
pressed to Bishop McKendree his friendliness toward 
any reasonable reform in the Church that might be 
brought about constitutionally. Although by nature a 
leader and by opportunity a lawgiver, he was in all and 
through all a commoner. One of his strong appeals 
against the hurtful and reactionary legislation of 1824 
was: "Will the people indorse it?" He fully satisfied 
himself that the great bulk of the laity supported his 
position. The ripeness of time having brought lay rep- 
resentation, he could rejoice in it with the rest. 

The General Conference of 1866 called four new 
members to the episcopacy — namely, William May 
Wightman, Enoch Mather Marvin, David Seth Dog- 
gett, and Holland Nimmons McTyeire. These names 
bring us to the beginning days of this generation of 
Methodists. The youngest of these became, as far as 
could be, the successor of his reverenced senior. With 



278 Life of Joshua Soule. 

a mind bent toward law and government, with a pro- 
found reverence for the constitution and the ideals of 
Methodism, Bishop McTyeire was marked as the man 
who was to replace to his generation the services of 
the great rabbi whose days were near their final ebb. 
Fortune planned that they should be closely associated 
during the closing scenes. As a son to his father, the 
younger Bishop watched, communed with, and set him- 
self to obey the dying behests of his elder. It was his 
to witness the letter of translation, and his to speak the 
words of eulogy and memory above the dust entombed. 
As the mantle of McKendree had fallen upon Soule, 
so the mantle of Soule fell upon McTyeire. Having 
himself defended and cherished the book of the law, 
he gave it into the hands of a worthy champion. It re- 
mains yet for a reproach to be visited upon that book 
in the house of that Methodism to which the illustrious 
Soule adhered. 

With the opening of a new quadrennium he sent a 
message to his colleagues : "Push forward the great 
work." He saw the fruitful, prophetic future before 
his people. The vision of it mingled with the light of 
his own translation. 

The bleak winds of March in Tennessee were moan- 
ing through the leafless maples and heeling up the sere 
pasture lands when the summons came to the long- 
waiting saint. On March 2, 1867, he was attacked with 
dysentery. This was Saturday, and on Tuesday he be- 
gan to sink rapidly ; it was plain that the end had come. 
Of this he himself seemed certain, and constantly asked 
the hour. This was read to him from the large silver 
watch that hung at the head of his bed, and which he 



The Evening Bell. 279 

had so long worn that it was all but identified with his 
person. 

"Do you feel any pain, Bishop?" asked his col- 
league, Bishop McTyeire. "None at all," was the quiet 
reply. But the question being renewed near the turn 
of the night, the answer was : "A little — not much." 
Just before midnight, seeing imminent signs of disso- 
lution, his colleague asked: "Bishop, you have long 
preached the gospel to others ; is all now clear before 
you ?" The answer was in low but confident tones : 
"Yes, yes." 

This being a characteristic form of reply with him, 
the younger bishop supposed his question was not fully 
understood, and so asked : "Do you understand me, 
Bishop?" "I do, sir," was the reply, which left no 
room for doubt. 

The remainder 'of the story may best be given in 
Bishop McTyeire's own words : 

About one o'clock he seemed to be passing under the cloud 
and disappearing. I said: "Is all right still?" Then for the 
last time did he throw that peculiar emphasis upon his words : 
"All right, sir; all right." 

At intervals we gave him water, which he swallowed with 
an appearance of thirst. Soon after drinking it, about two 
o'clock, when his voice, though feeble, was distinct, seeing him 
cross his hands on his breast, I asked: "Are you praying?" 
He replied, "Not now," and never spake more. 

I was surprised at these words; they were not what I ex- 
pected, for I knew he understood me and meant what he said. 
But as I looked at him lying there and thought on the words, 
"not now," they began to appear right, very right. His work 
was done; the night had come when no man can work. He 
was quiescent. The servant who has loitered away the day 
begins to be very busy when the shadows lengthen. There is 



280 Life of Joshua Soule. 

such a thing as having- nothing to do but to die. Woe to the 
man who has his praying to do and his dying at the same 
time! He that believeth shall not make haste. Not praying 
now ; that was done with, and the time for praising would 
soon set in. Like a ship, brave and stanch, that has weathered 
the storms and buffeted the waves, the voyage is ended; and 
as it nears the land, the busy wheels cease their revolutions, 
and under the headway and momentum previously acquired it 
glides into port. 

The change came. The family were called in and stood 
around as the silver cord was loosed without a struggle or 
groan or the appearance of any pain. He had put off this 
tabernacle ! Absent from the body, present with the Lord ! 

The first interment of Bishop Soule's remains was in 
the old City Cemetery, famous as the sleeping place of 
the founders and first fathers of the Athens of the 
South. There his dust rested amongst kindred urns for 
a period of ten years, when, by request of Church of- 
ficials and the consent of his family, it, together with 
the dust of Bishop McKendree, which had reposed for 
forty years in a grave in Sumner County, was removed 
to a sepulture provided upon the campus of the Van- 
derbilt University. The spot is one of the most restful 
that can be imagined. It lies swarded in blue grass 
and red clover under the shadows of fragrant trees 
planted a third of a century ago by the hand of a col- 
league. About it, but at silence-conserving distances, 
rise the classic buildings of the University, glimpsed 
through the foliage. But a few paces away is the 
school of the prophets. It was on a glorious day of 
October, in the year 1876, that this soil was opened and 
the ashes of the two fathers of the Church were low- 
ered by reverent hands to a rest that they will doubt- 



The Evening Bell. 281 

less keep until the trump of the archangel shall pro- 
claim "the resurrection of the body." The bells in the 
twin towers of the old University building tolled a sol- 
emn requiem as the funereal act proceeded. At the 
ceremony of the spreading of superficial dust, and amid 
a silence of nature's making, the bells having ceased 
their solemn monodies, Bishop McTyeire delivered a 
touching and eloquent eulogy on the great leaders of 
the Church, who, being knit together as one soul in 
life, were now to finish together their sleep of death. 
The modern city has stretched out its living arms and 
embraced the once suburban campus. With roar of 
wheels and tramp of feet, an urban life now sweeps 
miles beyond the protecting walls, but the quiet of 
their resting place is as it was at the beginning these 
four and thirty years ago. "Here sleep, side by side, 
the Cavalier and the Puritan — one in Christ." 

Subsequent to the reinterment of the remains of the 
two bishops, a monument of South Carolina granite in 
the shape of a massive pulpit surmounted by a Bible 
and hymn book was erected over the spot. On Febru- 
ary 15, 1889, Bishop McTyeire was himself called from 
earthly labors, and was given sepulture with the two 
mighty ones whose deeds and faith he had extolled in 
his strength. McKendree, Soule, McTyeire — these are 
the links that carry the chain of our spiritual heredity 
back to Asbury. 



INDEX. 



Abolitionism, 298, 210, 211, 

216. 
African Church, 160. 
African Mission, 214. 
Alexander, Gross, 228. 
Alexander, Robert, 93. 
American Bible Society, 119. 
Andrew, Bishop James O., 

184, 219, 224, 229, 234, 235. 
Armstrong's History, 165, 

173. 
Arthur, William, 203. 
Asbury, Bishop, 18, 24, 25, 26, 

31, 38, 42, 54, 55, 57, 63, 

76; death of, 107. 
Avon Settlement, 15, 18, 28. 

Bangs, Nathan, 29, 64, 108, 

118, 131, 135, 210. 
Bascom, Bishop, 229, 257, 

267. 
Bishops' meeting, 177. 
Black, William, 25, 193. 
Book Concern, 114, 116, 230. 
Bruce, Philip, 78. 

Camp meetings, 61. 

Capers, Bishop, 133, 134, 136, 

138, 178, 194, 218, 260. 
Chartered Fund, 230. 
Clarke, Adam, 194. 
Coke, Thomas, 46, 74, 106, 

192. 
Constitution, Methodist, 21, 

71, 79, 80, 84. 



Cooper, Ezekiel, 77, 78, 81, 

117. 
Cox, Melville B., 215. 

Deeds, Church, in. 
Denny, C, 165. 
Dickens, John, 116, 118. 
Dixon, the Rev. Dr., 86, 205. 
Dow, Neal, 96. 
Dunwoddy, Samuel, 134. 
Durbin, John, 197. 
Edwards, Jonathan, 24. 
Elliott, Charles, 78, 85, 230. 
Embury, Philip, 115. 
Emory, Bishop, 136, 164, 184, 
193. 

Fisk, Wilbur, 176, 189. 
Fowler, Littleton, 93, 195. 

Garrettson, F., 131. 

General Conference, First 

Southern, 255. 
George, Bishop, 83, 135, 137, 

138, 139, 147, 174, 180. 
Ghent, Treaty of, 100. 

Hamline, Bishop, 220. 
Hannah, Rev. John, 194, 203. 
Harding Case, 217, 219. 
Hedding, Elijah, 92, 130, 170, 

177. 245. 
Iron Duke, 204. 
Janes, Bishop, 245, 246. 

Kennebec District, 65, 66, 99. 
(283) 



284 



Life of Joshua Sonle. 



Lawrence, Captain, 98, 99. 
Lee, Jesse, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 

30, 40, 41, 57, 75, 97- 
Louisville Convention, 234, 

235, 239, 240, 243. 
Lynn, 50, 97. 

Maine, Frovince of, 14, 39, 

44, 53. 
Martha's Vineyard, 10. 
Mayflower, 9. 
McKendree, Bishop, 45, 57, 

82, 91, no, 122, 131, 137, 

141, 172, 182; death of, 186. 
McTyeire, Bishop, 21, 33, 45. 
Merritt, T., 40, 42, 47, 134. 
Methodist Magazine, 114, 128. 
Methodist Protestant Church, 

40, 174, 212. 
Methodist Pulpit, South, 179. 
Missionary Society, 120, 122, 

123, 176. 
Morris, Thomas A., 188-190, 

247, 249-254. 
Mudge, Enoch, 29, 30, 33, 40, 

56. 

Name of Church, 124, 125, 
126. 

Nantucket Circuit, 10, 55. 

Needham Circuit, 53, 54. 

New York Christian Advo- 
cate and Journal, 48. 

Newton, Dr. R., 196. 

Norris and Snorr, 209. 

O'Kelly, James, 40, 105. 
Ostrander, D., 50, 63, 140. 

Paine, Bishop, 133. 
Papers, Historic, 112. 



Peck, Bishop, 224. 
Pickering, George, 52, 63, 77 1 

100. 
Pierce, Bishop, 224. 
Pierce, Rev. Lovick, 261. 
Plan of Separation, 230, 239, 

243, 260, 262. 
Portland Circuit, 44, 45, 48. 
Presiding Eldership, 102, 107, 

140, 169. 

Randolph-Macon College, I7_S. 
Readfield Circuit, 27, 29, 39, 

41, 44, S3- 
Reece, Rev. R., 166, 194. 
Republican Methodists, 106. 
Reserve delegates, 95. 
Resolutions, Suspended, 148, 

1 55, 156, 158. 
Revivals, Typical, 49. 
Roberts, Bishop, 114, 142, 174, 

215- 

Rollo, 10. 

Roszel, Stephen G., 77, 83, 

138. 
Ruter College, 94. 
Ruter, Martin, 93. 
Ryerson, Rev. W., 206. 

Sabin, Elijah R., 52. 
Sargent, Thomas B., 196. 
Sargent, Thomas F., 52. 
Sea Kings, 9. 
Slavery, 187. 
Smith, Charles W., 87. 
Smith, Henry, 164. 
Snethen, Nicholas, 40. 
Soule, Captain, 15, 16, 18, 30, 
37- 



Index. 



285 



Souk, George, 9. 

Soule, Joshua, 18, 28, 30, 31, 
38, 39, 4i, 42, 53, 58, 61, 69, 
77, 78, 86, 89, 100, 103, no, 
119, 127, 131, 146, 150, 180, 
185, 189, 196, 197, 203, 205, 
213, 221, 258, 263, 264, 271 ; 
death of, 279, 280. 

Soule, Mary, 17. 

Soule University, 94. 

Soules, The, 10, 14, 41. 

Soulis, Sir John, 12. 

Southwestern University, 94. 

Sowle, George, 13. 

Stebbins, C, 33, 36. 

Stevens, Dr. A., 45, 56. 

Strawbridge, Robert, 25. 

Stubb's Chronicle, n. 

Summers, T. O., 21. 

Superintendency, General, 103. 



Taylor, J., 32, 40, 41, 42, 

52. 
Tigert, John J., 130, 156. 

Vasey, Thomas, 102, 103. 

Waden, n. 

Waugh, Bishop, 109, 134, 164, 

180, 189. 
Wells, J., 138. 
Wesley, Charles, 24. 
Wesley, John, 25, 28, 31, 38. 
Whatcoat, Bishop, 52, 54, 67, 

75, 102. 
Williams, Robert, 115. 
Winans, William, 257. 

Yalalee, Robert, 31, 32. 
Ygdrasil, 11. 

Zion's Herald, 48.